Employment prospects dropping – but good news for HR pros

by Cameron Edmond27 Jun 2013

The uncertainty regarding the economy internationally continues to weigh down on Australian employers, with the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends revealing a 1.6% dip in organisations expecting to increase their headcount, with a direct 1.6% increase to those looking to decrease.

Those employers maintaining current headcount is unchanged, sitting at 63.2%.

State-by-state, ACT has the strongest intentions to hire, seeing a 6.1% increase in intentions to hire. South Australia has a 5% increase, with NSW seeing a 3.3% increase to expectations for remaining static.

Queensland has had a small decrease in intentions of 3.1%, with Western Australia seeing the biggest drop (7.6%). Victoria’s drop is significantly less at 0.7%, but the state maintains the lowest intentions to hire overall.

“Many market commentators believe the peak of investment in the resources sector has passed, so it is not a surprise to see lower hiring expectations for Western Australian and Queensland,” Mark Steyn, CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific, said.

Of the organisations who are hiring, a large push is towards employing individuals with strong leadership qualities. Two-in-five of Hudson’s respondents stated people management has the biggest shortfall in Australian leadership.

Despite the common understanding that leadership must be developed, only 36.7% of Australian leaders have been formally assessed on their skills.

This push for strong leaders is echoed in a second report, the 2013 Hays Salary Guide, which found 35% of employers are expecting to increase their HR departments this financial year. Other areas where permanent staff is expected to increase include engineering and project management.

“Many HR departments are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead and are making strategic hires into roles that will offer long-term benefits to the organisation,” Lisa Morris, regional director of Hays Human Resources, said.

Despite a few changes in trends and demand for more leadership-driven individuals, Morris stated that it is business as usual when it comes to recruitment. “The keys to attracting these high potential candidates still lies with finding them, engaging with them and making sure that they see the right opportunities at the right time,” she said.

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