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As Recession Fades, Caution Remains With a Glimmer of Hope for Hiring

Nearly one-fifth of managers will increase hiring plans in 2010

NEW YORK, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the recruitment market levels out, hiring expectations by employers and recruiters are improving for the first time in 18 months, finds a new survey by Dice Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: DHX), a leading provider of specialized career websites for professional communities. However, caution and uncertainty still abound with employers split nearly 50-50 on the key labor market issue: hiring.

According to the survey, 45 percent of employers and recruiters anticipate flat to increasing hiring plans for the first six months of the coming year. And, more than eight in 10 respondents indicated that they would be hiring for at least one position in the next three months. These positive indications are somewhat offset by the nearly half (48%) of respondents who are scaling back their hiring over the same timeframe. On the surface this is a disappointing finding, although it represents a significant improvement from June, when three-quarters of employers reported decreased hiring expectations.

"Many employers aren't quite ready to make major investments in staff, but more companies are beginning to selectively recruit," said Scot Melland, Chairman, President and CEO of Dice Holdings, Inc. "Labor markets lag broader economic improvements, and there will continue to be challenges next year. However, we are seeing subtle signs in our business that indicate the labor markets are on firmer ground which this hiring survey seems to reinforce."

Candidates shouldn't expect it to be a quick hiring process, with 40 percent of recruiters and hiring managers saying that the time it takes to fill open positions is longer than it was last year. The same number of respondents expects to see no change. For the minority (20%) who see the hiring process speeding up, they attribute it the ease in finding qualified professionals.

Pay and compensation are still under pressure, with 90 percent of companies and recruiters saying that salaries for new hires will be flat to down in 2010. On the benefits side of the equation, three quarters of hiring managers and recruiters indicated no cuts to health and retirement benefits due to the recession. However, among the quarter or respondents whose companies had reduced benefits, 39 percent are unsure when those benefits will be restored and another 32 percent believe those cuts are permanent.

"As confidence builds in the underlying business climate, professionals will be raising their hand for new career challenges with pay increases either internally or externally," added Mr. Melland. "Opportunities will build for qualified professionals and companies should be preparing for the inevitable fact that voluntary turnover will increase and have plans to counter."

So when will hiring return to normal? Nearly one-fifth of respondents say they are at normal hiring levels. However, 29 percent are looking to the second half of 2010 for a return to previous levels and 28 percent will continue a cautionary outlook stating they prefer to wait and see how the economy evolves.

About the survey

From November 9 to November 13, 2009, Dice Holdings surveyed U.S. companies and recruiting firms from every region of the country who hire or recruit a variety of professionals. Nearly 1,000 responded to the email survey with 82 percent identified as companies that recruit for their own needs. Of that group, one-third had more than 500 employees.

Survey Results

Table 1: Has the current economic environment caused you or your clients to change hiring plans for the next six months?

Yes, substantially increased hiring plans                    3%
Yes, slightly increased hiring plans                        15%
No change                                                   27%
Yes, slightly decreased hiring plans                        30%
Yes, substantially decreased hiring plans                   18%
I'm not sure                                                 7%

Table 2: In the next three months, how many positions do you anticipate filling?

1 or 2 positions                                            22%
3 to 5 positions                                            25%
6 to 10 positions                                           13%
10 or more positions                                        25%
None, we will not be hiring in the next three
 months                                                     15%

Table 3: If you or your clients have a position to fill, has the time to fill open positions changed relative to last year?

Yes, it has substantially lengthened                        16%
Yes, it has slightly lengthened                             24%
No                                                          40%
Yes, it has slightly shortened                              16%
Yes, it has substantially shortened                          4%

Table 4: What trend do you see in salaries for new hires?

Significantly higher than last year                          1%
Slightly higher than last year                               9%
The same as last year                                       55%
Slightly less than last year                                29%
Significantly less than last year                            6%

Table 5: Did your company reduce or cut retirement or health benefits due to the recession?

Yes           27%
No            73%

Table 6: When do you anticipate restoration of those benefits in relation to hiring?

Before we begin hiring for new positions                     3%
Concurrent with hiring for new positions                     9%
After we begin to hire for new positions                    13%
Benefits have already been restored                          4%
I believe the cuts are permanent                            32%
I don't know                                                39%

Table 7: When do you envision that your hiring or your clients' hiring will return to more normal levels?

First half of 2010                                          10%
Second half of 2010                                         29%
First half of 2011                                          10%
Second half of 2011                                          4%
We are at normal hiring levels                              19%
Not sure -we'll have to wait and see how the
 economy evolves                                            28%

About Dice Holdings, Inc.

Dice Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: DHX) is a leading provider of specialized career websites for professional communities, including technology and engineering, financial services, accounting and finance, healthcare, and security clearance. Our mission is to help our customers source and hire the most qualified professionals in select and highly skilled occupations, and to help those professionals find the best job opportunities in their respective fields and further their careers. For more than 19 years, we have built our company by providing our customers with quick and easy access to high-quality, unique professional communities and offering those communities access to highly relevant career opportunities and information. Today, we serve multiple markets primarily in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Dice Holdings, Inc.
Jennifer Bewley, 212-448-8288

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Makovsky + Company
Kona Luseni, 212-508-9684

Jonathan Blank, 212-508-9615

SOURCE Dice Holdings, Inc.