Major Job Trends for Women in 2008

By Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.com

Q. What are some hot career trends right now?

A. You’ve made up your mind. You’re going to stop procrastinating, update that résumé and (finally) look for a new job. So what should you expect? Smooth sailing and a fast and easy job search? Or long months of applying to countless jobs and waiting for just an interview?

That depends on a number of things:

  • Are you applying to jobs that suit your skill set?
  • Is your résumé showing quantifiable results?
  • Does your cover letter tell the employer why you’re the best fit for the job?
  • Is it a job seeker’s or an employer’s market?

In 2007, the job market showed resilience amid economic uncertainties and produced more than of 1.3 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2008, plans for hiring are tracking below last year’s projections, but the economy still points to continued job creation.

Employers are taking caution, anticipating the advent of a slower, but still steady hiring environment in the New Year. CareerBuilder.com’s 2008 Job Forecast, conducted by Harris Interactive®, tracked projected hiring trends for 2008 surveying 3,016 hiring managers and human resource professionals in private sector companies.

Here’s what they found:

  • 32% of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2008, down from 40% who planned to do so in 2007
  • Just 8% plan to decrease full-time staff levels in 2008, while 47% expect no change;
    21% of employers plan to increase their number of part-time employees in 2008, down from 23% who expected to do so in 2007;
  • And 6% plan to decrease part-time headcount in 2008, while 58% expect no change.
  • In addition, early one-in-five employers report it typically takes them two months or longer to fill their open positions and 40% say they currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates.

What does this mean for you, the job seeker?

We’ve analyzed the data to give you eight ways employers are trying to make sure they attract and retain qualified employees – that is, ways they can find you (the qualified candidate), get you to accept a job offer, and grow you into a dedicated, hard-working employee who will be an asset for the long-term.

No. 1: Bigger Paychecks

Continuing an existing trend designed to attract and keep top talent, employers plan to offer more lucrative compensation packages in the coming year.

Eighty percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees in 2008, similar to last year; and 56% of employers expect to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees, up from 49% in 2007.

What you can do: Do your homework and brush up your negotiation skills when you are ready to talk salary.

No. 2: More Flexible Work Arrangements

Sixty percent of employers report they currently offer flexible schedules to employees and 39% plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2008 such as:

  • alternate schedules (come in early and leave early or come in later and leave later);
  • compressed workweeks (work the same hours, but in fewer days);
  • telecommuting options;
  • summer hours;
  • job sharing; and
  • sabbaticals.

What you can do: If your salary offer isn’t as high as you hoped or your employer can’t give you a raise, perhaps you can negotiate a flexible schedule, saving you commuting time and transportation costs.