Almost three-quarters (72%) of hiring managers plan to hire more contract professionals in the first six months of this year, according to Robert Half’s State of U.S. Hiring Survey. That’s up from 45% in the second half of 2022. The finance and accounting and legal sectors are most likely to increase hiring of contract talent.

In addition, 58% of managers plan to add new permanent roles, up from 46% six months ago. At the same time, the right employees are still hard to find – 9 in 10 managers say it’s challenging to find skilled professionals, and that it can take an average of 11 weeks to hire for an open position.

Paul MacDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, warned that even though hiring is challenging, employers should continue to be mindful about the process. “Pressure to hire for open positions quickly can lead to hasty decisions — and mistakes,” MacDonald said. “On the flip side, a drawn-out interview process or overemphasis on one or two priorities are barriers to bringing on top talent. Employers should aim to get a well-rounded view of candidates while remaining efficient and consistent.”