Despite recent news of several companies closing or cutting back on their San Diego operations, the regional trend is toward increased hiring, say several temporary staffing firms with local offices.
“The hiring that we’ve seen so far this year has been gradual and steady,” said Lauren Bostwick, a regional vice president of Robert Half International, a staffing firm with 330 offices worldwide, including two offices in the county.
In particular demand by both local and national employers are jobs in the accounting field, ranging from lower level bookkeepers to upper level supervisors and internal auditors, Bostwick said.
“Basically, anything that has to do with Sarbanes-Oxley (the federal accounting reform law that took effect this year), and at all levels,” she said.
A recent survey of San Diego chief financial officers conducted for Robert Half found a net of 9 percent expect to hire accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter. That was down from 12 percent who predicted increased hiring in the second quarter, but above the national average of 3 percent, Robert Half said.
The largest chunk of chief financial officers, 83 percent, replied their firms planned no changes in the upcoming quarter, while 3 percent said they anticipated staff reductions. Two percent weren’t sure, or provided no response. The survey involved the polling of 200 local CFOs, Robert Half said.
Other industries showing increased hiring in San Diego include financial services, particularly companies associated with investing, and real estate, Bostwick said.
“The high-tech side of our business has also seen some huge increases recently,” she added. Industries in this sector that were particularly active include software, telecom and defense.
The near-term view offered by Manpower Temporary Services also appears rosy, based on the firm’s latest quarterly survey.
From July to September, 57 percent of local companies responding to the survey said they plan to hire additional employees, while 17 percent that they expect to reduce payrolls. Another 23 percent said they planned to maintain the current staffing level, and 3 percent stated they weren’t certain of their plans.
Phil Blair, co-owner of Manpower Temporary Services, said employers have significantly increased their hiring intentions from the second quarter when 39 percent said they planned to add more workers.
According to the Manpower survey, job prospects were strongest in the following industries: construction, non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation/ public utilities, services and public administration.
Yet another survey that concentrated on the local high technology industry by Yoh Services LLC, a staffing firm doing business in the United States and Great Britain, found the jobs that were in the highest demand locally in the first quarter in the biotech sector were biochemistry researcher, clinical research associate, microbiology scientist and regulatory affairs associate. The average pay ranges on the jobs were from a low of $26 an hour to $39 an hour (for the clinical research associate).
Among the information technology positions most in demand locally during the first quarter according to Yoh were application development business analyst, programmer analyst, Java developer, network engineer, and project manager. The hourly pay scale ranged from $48 to $95.
Although high-tech wages nationally dipped 0.8 percent during the first quarter, salaries for these workers in San Diego increased 6 percent over the like period in 2004, according to Yoh’s report, which was scheduled for release June 20.
“Our data shows that while technology wages dipped nationally in the first three months of the year, demand for select, high-impact skills continued unabated in San Diego,” said Jim Lanzalotto, a vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh.