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Employers Globally Dial Down Hiring Expectations in Q3

Latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey finds employers in 26 countries report a weaker hiring outlook compared with the same period last year, improving in 12, and remaining unchanged in two.

  • All regions showed a net positive hiring outlook, though hiring plans are weaker year-over-year globally.

  • North America continues to hold the strongest outlook (+35%), followed by Asia Pacific (+31%), and South and Central America (+29%), with EuropeMiddle East and Africa reporting the weakest (+20%).

  • Digital roles continue to drive the most demand globally with businesses in the IT industry reporting the brightest outlook for the third time this year but weakening -7% compared with Q3 2022.

While temperatures in many countries are heating up, global hiring plans are cooling off heading into summer, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of nearly 39,000 employers in 41 countries. The research is based on survey responses fielded from April 3-28, 2023. The Net Employment Outlook (NEO) for Q3 is +28%, down 4% from the same time last year, suggesting that economic headwinds are starting to impact employers’ hiring expectations.

“This data suggests employers are planning more measured hiring for the quarter ahead as they navigate a range of local and macro level challenges from supply constraints to uneven consumer confidence and rising inflation,” said ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO Jonas Prising. “That said, attracting and retaining business critical talent remains a priority, and our survey respondents around the world continue to be focused on hiring for in-demand roles.”

Used internationally as a bellwether of economic and labor market trends, the NEO is calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers who anticipate reductions in staffing levels from those who plan to hire.


  • For Q3 the most optimistic hiring outlooks are reported by organizations in Costa Rica (+43%), the Netherlands (+39%), and Peru (+38%). Employers in Argentina (+6%), Slovakia (+10%), Austria (+11%), and Italy (+11%) report the least optimistic outlooks.
  • Among the world’s largest economies, respondents in the United States (+35%), the United Kingdom (+29%), Germany (+28%), and France (+21%) all plan to hire in the third quarter.
  • Organizations in the IT sector (39%) report the strongest outlook, followed by Energy & Utilities (34%). The least optimistic hiring plans are found in the Communication Services (22%) and Consumer Goods & Services (22%) industries.
  • Year-over-year, employers in 26 countries plan to hire fewer workers, with the NEO declining -4 percentage points. The biggest year-over-year declines are reported in Brazil (-19%), India (-15%), Argentina (-14%), Finland (-14%), and Ireland (-14%).

Global Hiring Plans by Region

North AmericaEmployers remain the most optimistic in this region for the third quarter of 2023 (+35%).

  • Both the U.S. and Canada expect hiring to be weaker compared to their forecast year-over-year, with both countries’ NEO decreasing -3%.
  • Employers across Puerto Rico (+35%), the U.S. (+35%), and Canada (+34%) report increases in their outlooks compared to last quarter at +9, +5, and +8 percentage points, respectively.

Asia Pacific (APAC): Employers across APAC anticipate increasing headcount (+31%), further improving when compared to the previous quarter (+4%) but slightly weakening year-over-year (-1%).

  • Australia (+37%), India (+36%), and China (+35%) report the strongest outlooks.
  • Most cautious outlooks were reported by employers in Japan (+14%) and Taiwan (+15%).
  • China reports the strongest outlook globally for Energy & Utilities (61%) while Singapore remains the leader in Financials & Real Estate (50%).
  • When it comes to digital roles, Australia leads both regionally and globally (+61%).

Central and South America: Regional outlook stands at +29%, increasing since last quarter by +2%.

  • Employers in Costa Rica lead globally and regionally (+43%), followed by Peru (+38%), and Mexico (+36%).
  • The weakest labor market is seen by employers in Argentina (+6%).
  • This region has the strongest hiring intentions globally for the following sectors:
    • Health Care & Life Sciences: Mexico (51%)
    • Communication Services: Costa Rica (60%)
    • Consumer Goods & Services: Costa Rica (49%)

EuropeMiddle East and Africa (EMEA): EMEA employers report a steady outlook for the third quarter (+20%), with a moderate increase (+2%) since last quarter, but still the weakest globally.

  • Outlooks vary across the region with employers optimistic in the Netherlands (+39%), South Africa (+34%), and the U.K. (+29%).
  • Weakest outlooks are in Slovakia (+10%), Italy (+11%), and Austria (+11%).
  • France and Italy report a weaker outlook compared to Q2, both declining -5%.