The economy, stupid? Tough times change hiring criteria

by Human Capital25 Jul 2012

Employers and HR are on the hunt for candidates with demonstrable resilience and perseverance and the current stresses of the economy have affected both hiring intentions. It seems the most sought after personality traits on HR’s list now reflect the stresses of an uncertain economy, according to a new report based on the opinions of almost 4,000 Australian employers.

Almost 50% of the employers surveyed by recruitment firm Hudson reported that adverse economic conditions have impacted their hiring intentions as well as the attributes they're looking for in high-performing staff. “Many employers believe the tough economic environment has changed the skills their people need to be high performers,” Hudson Asia-Pacific chief executive Mark Steyn said. In turn, candidates with qualities suited to working in stressful economic conditions would be in high-demand, he said. “Being resilient and open to change are now among the most desirable attributes – people with these qualities are in demand regardless of hiring sentiment.”

The report also indicated a dip in the number of employers looking to hire in the quarter to September 30 – some 29.6% of organisations intend to add staff in the third quarter, compared to the 32.2% previously.

Other key trends outlined in the report included:
 

  • Most of the hiring will occur in Western Australia where employers are most confident about hiring intentions.
     
  • Confidence slumped the most among Queensland employers because of concerns about public sector job cuts, falling coal prices and the effect of the mining tax.
     
  • Less than a third of employers in Queensland expect to hire in the September quarter.
     
  • Nationally, the majority of employers across the board expect to keep the headcount steady and only about 12% expect to reduce staff numbers.

Steyn said the trends reflect a drive to avoid over-exposure and protect the bottom line. “It means employers are being more rigorous in their hiring – and that's a good thing,” he said.

 

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