Similar to 2013, employers are projected to remain cautious with their hiring plans in the new year, research shows.

A new study from CareerBuilder revealed that 24 percent of companies expect to add full-time, permanent employees in 2014, down 2 percentage points from 2013. Like their larger counterparts, small businesses are also staying cautious as they assess market potential in the year ahead, with just 19 percent of those businesses with fewer than 50 employees planning to hire in 2014.

Employers point to the debt issues in Washington as a reason for their drop in hiring. Nearly a quarter of the businesses surveyed said they will hire at a slower rate or will not expand headcount at all until the debt ceiling issue is resolved in the first quarter.  

"What we saw in our survey was reluctance from some employers to commit to adding jobs until the outcomes of debt negotiations and other issues affecting economic expansion are clearer," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. "As these stories play out and employers find their footing in the new year, there is greater potential for the average monthly job creation in 2014 to exceed that of 2013."

For those companies that are planning to add new staff, sales and technology positions are the jobs they will be trying to fill most. The research shows that 30 percent of hiring managers plan to recruit full-time, permanent employees for sales positions, while 29 percent will do the same for information technology jobs.

Other positions that are expected to garner attention from hiring managers include customer service, production, administrative, engineering, marketing and business development.

CareerBuilder points to several hiring trends that employers and job seekers should be watching for in 2014, including:

  • Part-time hiring on the rise: 17 percent of employers expect to recruit part-time workers over the next 12 months, up 3 percentage points over last year.  While various factors will influence this trend, 12 percent of all employers stated that they will likely hire more part-time workers in 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act.
  • More companies "onshoring" jobs: One of the most popular imports of the new year just may be previously lost jobs.  Twenty-three percent of companies who offshore jobs said they brought some of those jobs back to the U.S. in 2013; 26 percent plan to do so in 2014.
  • Skills gap widening: Half of human resource managers surveyed said they currently have positions for which they can't find qualified candidates.  Forty-six percent said these positions go unfilled for three months or longer.
  • Companies building the perfect employee instead of waiting for one: In light of the skills gap, 49 percent of employers plan to train people who don't have experience in their industry or field and hire them in 2014, up 10 percentage points over last year.  Twenty-six percent of employers are sending current employees back to school to get an advanced degree – and picking up all or part of the cost.
  • Companies looking for recruits in high schools: More companies are connecting with future generations of workers to establish a pipeline of job candidates. Twenty-seven percent of hiring managers have promoted careers at their firms to high school students or, in some cases, even younger; 25 percent plan to do so in 2014.

The study was based on surveys of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.