newsThough hiring in professional fields should continue to increase during the second quarter of 2012, it is expected to do so at a much slower pace, states the Robert Half Professional Employment Report. Of those executives interviewed for the report, a net 2 percent plan to hire full-time staff during the period of May through July 2012. This statistic is down from 10 percent during the first quarter of the year. This change reflects the fact that 89 percent of surveyed executives expect no change in hiring activity for the quarter; significantly hiring the first quarter’s 78 percent.

Despite the hiring slowdown, 91 percent of participating executives reported that they are somewhat to very confident in the growth of their companies during the second quarter, up from 87 percent in the first quarter. Additionally, 61 percent of respondents stated that they were experiencing difficulty in recruiting qualified employees.

Additional key findings from the survey include: 5 percent of executives foresee bringing in supplementary staff while 3 percent anticipate staff reductions. The strongest hiring activity is expected to occur in the legal sector where a net of 22 percent of lawyers predict an increase in staffing during the second quarter. Nationally, the most active area is expected to be the East South Central region where 8 percent of polled executives foresee adding full-time professional staff. The transportation sector is also expected to experience increased hiring activity where 9 percent of executives anticipate additional hiring.

in Labor Statistics]