Beyond the GFC: Hiring expectations hitting new lows

New research has shown hiring expectations are heading to lows not seen since the GFC, as employers look to “shrink their way to success”.

Beyond the GFC: Hiring expectations hitting new lows

The number of employers looking to increase headcount has dropped a further 1.6%; just 20.9% of employers plan to increase headcount this quarter. This is the lowest level since Q3 2009, the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends has revealed.

However, retention rates have increased. Employers expecting to maintain their current headcount have increased by 2.1% to 65.3%, with intentions to decrease headcount dropping by 0.4% to 13.8%.

Mark Steyn, CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific, highlighted that while hiring expectations are quite low, the factors behind this are not the same as the GFC, where retention rates were much lower.

“We’re seeing liquidity in the market – many employers are reshaping their teams, but are not increasing their overall headcount,” he explained.

“Organisations cannot shrink their way to success. Individuals, who can help transform businesses, lift productivity and open up revenue streams to compete more effectively, remain in high demand,” Steyn added. “While employers may not be growing their overall workforces they are looking for the right people to transform their businesses and ensure they are well positioned.”


Key findings from the Hudson Report include:

  • South Australia has the strongest intentions to hire, up 1.0% to 24.2%. Information Technology held the highest intention to hire for the third consecutive quarter.
  • Western Australia saw intentions to increase headcount fall 1.6% to 23.3%, while the Resources industry saw intentions to hire fall 5.3% to 9.1%.
  • New South Wales has seen the most significant lift in hiring expectations, up 1.3% to 23.2%, where expectations of hiring in Government have lifted 23.5% to 38.0%, the highest of all the state’s industries.
  • ACT has seen a drop in hiring expectations of 4.1% to 22.2%, largely driven by a 7.5% fall in hiring expectations for Government in the region.
  • Queensland hiring expectations fell 3.4% while expectations to maintain headcount rose 3.7%. Hiring intentions for the Resources industry increased 4.0% in QLD while hiring intentions for the industry nationally rose by only 0.8%.
  • Victoria has the lowest expectations to increase headcount, down 5.3% to 16.2%. It also saw the biggest increase in intention to maintain headcounts, up 7.0% to 68.3%, the highest of all states.

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