No tightening of labour market just yet

by Stephanie Zillman11 Apr 2012

More and more of Australia’s biggest organisations are shying away from increasing headcount amid the continued economic uncertainty – and according to the latest reports, 2012 is shaping up to be a slow and steady year for hiring.

The most recent data on hiring expectations by consultancy firm Hudson canvassed the opinions of nearly 4,500 Australian employers. The data showed the number of employers planning to keep headcount steady grew by 3%, while the number of employers actively looking to hire slid by nearly 4%. Just 10% of Australian employers currently anticipate staff cuts. “Encouragingly, there has been very little change in the number of companies that anticipate cutting staff,” Mark Steyn, CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific said. “Most employers still plan to either hire new staff or keep their workforce steady while they wait for more clarity around the economy.”

The data also showed that in the second quarter of this year, almost a third of Australian employers expect to increase headcount, and two-thirds of employees believe they deserve a pay rise and would consider changing jobs for the right offer. “Many high achievers are on the move and the danger in the current environment is that a ‘wait and see’ approach can result in protracted decision-making throughout the hiring process which can mean high-quality candidates pulling out of the recruitment process to accept more attractive offers elsewhere,” Steyn said.

Key stats from the report:

  • Weaker-than-expected economic growth during the December quarter and news reports in January and February of planned jobs cuts among some banks, miners, retailers and car manufacturers may have weighed on employment sentiment

  • Sentiment in the advertising, marketing & media industry surged and was the only group to demonstrate a significant improvement

  • Information technology and resources were the only industries to post year-on-year increases

  • Industries posting the largest drops in the quarter included utilities, education and financial services.

  • The economies of Western Australia and Queensland continued to benefit from the resources boom, while New South Wales and Victoria barely grew and South Australia contracted

  • Queensland was the only state to record an improvement in employment sentiment in the quarter, narrowing the gap at the top with Western Australia

  • An average 45% of employers in both resources-rich states expect to hire more permanent staff

  • The Australian Capital Territory posted the largest decrease in sentiment as government agencies looked for savings and private-sector employers refrained from offering long-term contracts


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