New research says that more than seven in 10 U.S. employers will be in hiring mode in the coming year. Despite that positive outlook, however, they’re expecting a bumpy road ahead.

The national employment law firm Littler Mendelson recently released its 2012 Executive Employer Survey, and the feelings of the 957 in-house counsel, human resources and C-suite executives can best be described as … mixed.

As in: The majority of respondents (71%) plan to hire more workers during the next 12 months, while just eight percent plan to lay off full-time employees.

But they’re also expecting new roadblocks in the form of federal regulation. The areas where developments are expected to be most significant:

  • healthcare reform (64%)
  • continued National Labor Relations Board action concerning union organizing (41%)
  • immigration reform (22%), and
  • more anti-discrimination employment regs (21%).

Workplace issues

The execs are also sensitive to issues in their own workplaces. The leading challenges they see facing employees:

  • the demand for employees to do more with less (91%)
  • potentially unproductive workers remaining in a job due to an inability to find employment elsewhere (85%), and
  • underemployment (67%).

Despite the tight job market, respondents chose employee retention as the issue presenting the most difficulty for their company when managing its workforce.

Then there’s that election thing …

Regardless of the presidential election’s outcome, respondents think the next president will assign a very high priority to job creation.

Mitt Romney is considered more likely to assign a high priority to this issue than would a second-term President Obama, with 85% saying they think Romney would assign a high priority to job creation compared with 70% for President Obama.

Respondents don’t think job creation will be the only concern both men would address in the employment arena.

The top issues expected to receive a high priority from President Obama were healthcare reform (81%), union organizing (64%) and workplace discrimination matters (59%). Respondents anticipate that Republican presidential candidate Romney will place a high priority on immigration reform (50%) and healthcare reform (48%).





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