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New ManpowerGroup Q4 employment survey shows hiring bounce back

Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company's Q4 hiring report and his outlook for employment.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: The latest survey from ManpowerGroup about how many people looking for jobs stand a good chance of landing one is quite encouraging. Let's bring into the stream Jonas Prising-- he is ManpowerGroup CEO-- to talk about what we're going to call the great fourth quarter hiring bounceback, especially when I think one of the headlines is that in 14 of your 43 surveyed markets were at 10 plus year highs for the outlook. So help us understand what that means for people looking for jobs. Do you have to have a specific skill set, or is it just you hold the reins in this one?

JONAS PRISING: In this one, you hold most of the reins, Adam. Employers are very optimistic when they look into the fourth quarter across the world. And that's reflected in this hiring outlook, which is very, very positive with decade highs in terms of their intent to hire people. So it's a very strong outlook and reflects employer optimism, as they look into Q4 in terms of their hiring intentions.

SEANA SMITH: Jonas, it's good to see you again. Certainly, this is some encouraging news here, but to what extent are the labor shortages holding back some of those hiring plans?

JONAS PRISING: Well, I think at the same time as we see really high intentions to hire by employers, on the other side, we also see very, very high talent shortages across the world. So to give you an idea, here, in the US, pre-pandemic, when we were at a 3 plus percent employment-- unemployment rate, we had 54% of employers say you had difficulty finding people. In our outlook and as we look at talent shortages today in the US, 69% of employers say they have difficulty finding people that they need for their business.

So whilst employers have great and important and positive hiring intentions, based on the reflection on talent shortage, it seems unlikely that they'll be able to fulfill those intentions because the labor markets are very tight here in the US. And they're also very tied to globally as well.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Jonas, I want to read from the report a little bit because I think some people listening right now might think we're talking about the kind of skills that you need if you can write code. But for the United States, you point out in all 12 industry sectors, hiring intentions are the highest since you began doing this in 1982. Construction, durable goods manufacturing-- we have a segment coming up on dealing with that issue-- non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation, utilities, retail, and trade. It really is across the board. If you're looking for a job, as you said, you hold the reins. Any sense of how people looking for jobs are using this newfound power?

JONAS PRISING: Well, a lot of what we hear about and what your prior segment was a little bit about as well, in terms of what small businesses are saying, is that, of course, you're seeing some pretty strong wage inflation, especially on the lower wage workers. We've seen very strong wage inflation over a number of years. And also this year, on average, wages are up about 5%.

So you are starting to see workers leveraging this shortage and making clear their requests for more pay, but also for more benefits. Work location is another aspect that employers are competing with, as well as additional vacation. So they are really looking at the market and they're saying people with skills are in demand. And it's a worker's market right now.

SEANA SMITH: Jonas, one thing that more workers are facing are mandatory COVID vaccinations. We've seen a number of companies come out mandating that for its employees. Have you seen any impact yet? Or is it still too early to tell, just in terms of what this could mean for the labor market, at least over the next couple of months?

JONAS PRISING: You know, finding people in a market like this, Seana, is hard on the best of days. But what we've found is that our recruiters are really struggling with another complexity in when we find people. You have people who are afraid of the unvaccinated and wondering which employers have what mandates. And you also have those that are afraid of getting vaccinated, wondering which employers are implementing what measures to protect themselves.

I'd say that in terms of the new federal mandate, it's too early to call. Many companies are waiting to understand how this gets implemented, what are the OSHA rules, what are the rules around the verification of somebody's vaccination status. So that is too early to call.

Many of our customers and big manufacturing plants and things like that, they've already dealt with and had vaccine mandates in place for a long time. And we are seeing increasing number of employers put this in anyway. So I think what this will do is help those employers signal to the labor market that having a mandate and being vaccinated is increasingly going to be the norm for many companies. And that--

ADAM SHAPIRO: Jonas, give-- very quickly, even once we're out of the pandemic, it doesn't look like these labor trends will change because the birth rates globally indicate that it's going to be a laborer's market, not the employer's market.

JONAS PRISING: Yeah, the structural changes are happening in labor markets in terms of technology, requiring new skills, and demographics. But most of the developed world certainly are going to come back into play. But I should say-- and then when we last spoke, Adam and Seana, we talked about the expectation that we had that since this is a specific anomaly for and after the pandemic, it should settle down. And I'd say it's taken longer to settle down than we would have expected.

But still, you had 20 million people lose their jobs in March and April of last year. 14 million are back in the labor market. Six million are still on the sidelines. We think that part of the reason for that is the increasing uncertainty around the resurgence or the surgence of-- the surge of the Delta variant that is keeping people off the sidelines, in addition to other childcare concerns or health issues that they're concerned about as well.

ADAM SHAPIRO: ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising, thank you so much for joining us.