News > Economy
Job market hottest in years
September 2, 1998: 12:19 p.m. ET

Challenger poll reveals a seller's market, especially in high-tech field
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - If you're thinking of getting a new job, now is definitely the time to take action, according to a new survey.
     Of the 90 human resource executives polled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., 95 percent said the current job market is the hottest in five years.
     "It is clearly a seller's market," said John Challenger, executive vice president of the international outplacement firm. "There has probably never been a better time to be looking for a job, especially for those seeking positions in industries that require highly specialized knowledge and skills."
     The company polled a wide range of industries, including cosmetics, meat packing and real estate.
     High-tech companies, especially those hiring chemical, electrical and software engineers, face the biggest labor crunch, according to the poll.
     Of those in the high-tech field, 88 percent said they would hire qualified professionals on the spot, with the idea of looking past 1998.
     Most respondents -- 68 percent -- cited the strong economy and low wage inflation as the primary reason for the employment surge.
     "The strong economy prompted ambitious yearly plans on the part of many companies, especially those in consumer goods manufacturing," Challenger said. "In order to meet those goals, as well as to stay competitive in today's global 24-hour economy, several companies in the poll have added or plan to add third shifts, creating the need for even more workers."
     A strong economy will lead to expansion in some areas, but the survey shows that 58 percent of respondents are having trouble filling existing positions that have been vacated.
     Challenger said companies are offering new and more creative perks to lure qualified workers from their current positions.
     "Employers know that in such a competitive job market, it takes more than money to bring in qualified employees for the year-end push toward goal realization," he said.
     The lack of skilled workers is forcing some companies to pull back on expansion plans, Challenger added.
     "As a result, we have seen a surge in job-cut announcements," Challenger said.
     Despite the tight job market, those seeking work still need to take active steps to find employment.
     "It takes a lot of leg work to find a new position and those who do not practice effective job search techniques will have a tough time finding a job, even in this seller's market," Challenger said. Back to top


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Challenger, Gray & Christmas

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