DC-area companies area hiring right now, but it’s a particular kind of hiring

Staffing firm Robert Half reports 59% of D.C.-area hiring managers report they will add positions in the first half of 2023 — and 75% of those plan to make those new hires contract professionals.

Robert Half’s survey found many companies have more work in the pipeline, but are still cautious to commit to permanent hires. D.C. has always been ripe for professional contracting work.

“Right now they have critical projects and heavy workloads,” said Trey Barnette, D.C.-based regional vice president for Robert Half. “Also, they need access to specialized skills. D.C. is just an area for that. And companies are evaluating right now potential full hires, and the best way to do that is to bring a contractor on and test them out before you consider bringing them on full time.”

D.C.-area employers surveyed said it is currently taking an average of up to 11 weeks to hire for an open role. It is not the hiring process to blame for the lag. It is the lack of applications.

“Eighty-two percent of D.C. area managers say it is hard to find skilled professionals. It is a battle for talent right now. There just aren’t that many people out there,” Barnette said.

Robert Half noted the D.C. metro unemployment rate is 3.5%, with two open jobs for every unemployed person. For companies speaking to people with college degrees, it is less than 2% of the open market of people that are available.

In the D.C. region, Robert Half said managers in technology and finance and accounting have the greatest full-time staffing needs, at 64% and 62% respectively.

You can check out Robert Half’s national report on spring hiring plans online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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