Nearly 55 percent of companies plan to hire in the coming year, according to a survey conducted by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. That’s compared to just over 46 percent of companies who reported they would hire in 2018.

Meanwhile, fewer companies reported that economic fears and soft demand would negatively impact hiring. Nine percent of companies stated low demand and economic uncertainty would slow hiring, compared to 24 percent of respondents who reported this in the 2017 survey.

The survey was conducted in November among 150 companies of various sizes in all industries nationwide.

“Companies are currently locked in a war for talent. With the market at near full employment and companies making plans to expand or invest in technologies requiring workers with new or differing skill sets, it’s no wonder the hiring outlook is so positive,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Employers also report confidence in the economy this year, according to the survey. Over 63 percent of employers feel the economy is stronger than last year. That’s compared to 47.6 percent who reported this in 2017. Another 26.2 percent feel the economy is on par with last year, versus 49.2 percent who reported this in 2017.

“We are beginning to see an increase in job cut announcements, and CEOs are leaving their posts at the highest rate since 2008. However, for the moment, many companies are increasing hiring plans in light of the strong economy and tight labor market,” said Challenger.

In fact, employers at U.S.-based companies have announced 494,775 cuts through November, according to Challenger tracking. That’s compared to 386,347 cuts announced through the same period last year. Meanwhile, 1,323 CEOs have left their posts through November, the most since 2008, when 1,361 CEOs left their posts through the same month.

“Some indicators suggest a coming downturn, but at the moment, companies are looking to get staffing levels to a place where they can fully capitalize on the strong economy,” said Challenger.

Challenger offered the following list of Hot Industries for 2019:

  • Technology
    The tech sector is constantly changing and with that comes opportunities. Many longstanding tech companies are themselves pivoting to artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality. Unsurprisingly, the industry will see big growth next year. According to the Robert Half Salary Guide, below are the top positions for tech in 2019.
  • Top Jobs: Software Developers, Mobile App Developers, Data Architects
    Average Salaries: $100,000-$145,000

  • Health Care
    Health care is a perennially hot sector, as care is always in demand, especially as more baby boomers begin to retire. Meanwhile, the increasing use of technology and uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid disbursements could create new or different opportunities.
  • Top Jobs: Home Health and Personal Care Aides, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Medical Assistants
    Average Salaries: $25,000-$110,000

  • Business
    Big data and those who can properly analyze it will be in high demand next year.
  • Top Jobs: Market Research Analysts, Financial Managers, Management Analysts, Business Intelligence Analysts
    Average Salaries: $63,500-$125,000

  • Energy
    The energy sector will see serious changes in the coming years, as innovations continue. Meanwhile, legislation on climate change will likely impact which sectors within the energy industry will see the most opportunities.
  • Top Jobs: Petroleum Engineers, Solar Photovoltaic Installers, Wind Turbine Service Technicians
    Average Salaries: $39,490-$128,000

  • Education
    The largest growth in the education sector relates to changes in technology and big data.
  • Top Jobs: Statisticians, Mathematicians
    Average Salaries: $84,060-$103,010

    Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Robert Half Salary Survey

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