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Waiting to hear from a prospective employer? Well, no news is not good news in today’s job market. More and more, if you’re going to land the job, you’ll hear sooner rather than later. That, says new research, is because companies are looking to hire faster than last year.

The new survey report released by Dice Holdings, Inc. shows that employers and recruiters are reporting a decrease in the time it takes to fill open positions, whether slightly (21 percent) or substantially (5 percent). The company says that points to increased urgency from companies looking to hire fast because of increased competition in the job marketplace.

It’s getting harder to find qualified employees, too. Thirty-three percent of employers and recruiters are seeing flat or declining numbers of professionals applying for positions, juxtaposed with 17 percent only six months ago.

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Companies are opening up new positions and actively recruiting more than they were last year. The survey reports that 20 percent of respondents reported an increase in recruiting for new positions, and that is up from 9 percent last November.

"Businesses seem to be gradually loosening their grip on the hiring process as the economy improves," said Scot Melland, chairman, president and CEO of Dice Holdings, Inc.

The majority of employers and recruiters (52 percent) said they expected to hire more in the second half of the year than they will in the first two quarters. Of those planning to hire, 49 percent said they plan to increase hiring 10 percent and 28 percent plan a hiring increase of 11 to 20 percent.

More recruiters recruiting means employee retention initiatives need an upgrade in order to keep valuable staff. 43 percent of survey respondents expect some employee attrition this year.

“At the same time, professionals are more willing to jump ship now.  As the employment cycle strengthens, companies are likely to find it more challenging to keep their top talent,” says Melland.

Many companies did away with bonuses and salary increases over the past two years, but it may be time to rethink that strategy. Research shows that new hire salaries are rising in the past six months, with 25 percent reporting that trend. Perceived job stability is also on the upswing—69 percent of respondents report that layoffs are unlikely to occur at their companies within the next six months, that’s an 8 percent improvement since November.

The survey compiled responses from 800 interviews with U.S. companies, government entities and recruiting firms from every region of the country who hire or recruit a variety of professionals. The majority of respondents came from companies with 500-plus employees.