Over 4 in 10 Auckland businesses won't be hiring new staff in 2024: survey

New report shows 'incredibly tough time for businesses'

Over 4 in 10 Auckland businesses won't be hiring new staff in 2024: survey

More than four in 10 businesses in Auckland have no plans to hire new employees in the next 12 months amid negative business confidence, according to a new survey.

The Auckland Business Chamber found that 42% of businesses aren't expecting to hire new staff within the next 12 months, slightly edging out the 40% of employers expecting to hire.

Another nine per cent of businesses said they'll be reducing their headcount, while eight per cent aren't sure about their recruitment plans for the future.

Source: Business Confidence Survey - March 2024

The findings suggest that job ads will likely continue decreasing in the next couple of months, which already started in February 2024.

According to the report, 41.25% of employers said they aren't experiencing any changes in the labour market over the past year, while 23.73% said they were seeing an improvement.

Negative business confidence

The lack of eagerness about recruiting new staff also comes as business confidence among half of employers turned out to be negative (42%) or very negative (9.8%).

Source: Business Confidence Survey - March 2024

In fact, employers are extremely concerned about inflationary pressures and consumer confidence. According to the report, employers are expecting an increase in business costs (79%) in the next 12 months.

Four in 10 employers (40.5%) also said they will likely raise prices within the next 12 months, while 24% said they have already done it.

'Tough time for businesses'

Simon Bridges, CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber, said it's an "incredibly tough time for businesses."

The report found that business performance over the past three months were below expectations (47.49%) and business revenue was down compared to one year ago (49.72%).

"The three C's of cost, compliance, and lack of confidence are really biting. Businesses are seeing clients and consumers holding onto their wallets, leading to reduced buying, payment delays, and in some instances, no payments at all," Bridges said in a statement.

The CEO, however, said he was "realistically optimistic."

"Although change won't happen overnight, the prospect of lower interest rates and a pro-business government driving reforms could bring relief later this year and into 2025," he said. "Dark clouds may be hanging now, but every storm gives way to a rainbow eventually."

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