Manufacturing News

Employer hiring optimism continues to improve in Australia

Overall employment optimism across the country continues to gain ground in Australia, providing job seekers with much greater prospects this quarter than this time last year, according to the results of Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey released 9 March.

The survey of over 2,200 Australian employers indicates hiring intentions for the next three months continue to grow, but at a more modest pace following notable increases in the past two quarters.

The seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook is at +22%, up from +20% in the last quarter. This is due to an increase in the proportion of employers planning to hire (30%, up from 26% in Q.1) and a slight fall in the number planning to reduce headcount (6%, compared to 7% in Q.1).

“This time last year, job seekers faced a pretty cheerless job market, with national hiring optimism at its weakest point of the downturn, sitting at -1%,” said Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director, Manpower Australia & New Zealand.

“One year on, the story is very different for job seekers. The figures for this quarter show that the Australian employment market has come full circle, returning to employment levels seen before the economic downturn,” said Crawley.

“While the overall Outlook is certainly a positive one, we are seeing some industry sectors that are yet to find solid ground,” said Crawley.

“After a surge in employment optimism across every sector at the start of this year, this quarter may see a correction in some. As we get further into the year, employers have a better understanding of their road to recovery and just how long that road is going to be. They are adjusting their hiring strategies accordingly.”

The Transport & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade and Public Administration/Education sectors have all seen slight reductions in employment optimism this quarter, with the greatest decrease seen in the Transport and Utilities sector (down to +14%, compared to +17% last quarter).

On the other side of the spectrum, employment optimism is on the rise in Finance, Insurance & Real Estate (+22%, up from +14% last quarter), Manufacturing (+22%, up from +17%) and Mining & Construction (+27%, up from +20%), following an increase in business confidence levels reported earlier this month in those sectors.

“It is going to be a balancing act for many of these industry sectors — they don’t want to peak too early and hire before the demand is there but they don’t want to be left behind in the renewed race for talent.

“In the meantime, building a flexible workforce is the key to finding that balance – providing capacity but reducing the risks of permanent hiring. It’s also a great way to ‘road test’ candidates — giving both the company and the individual a chance to see if they fit with each other,” said Crawley.

According to Mr Crawley, businesses have been constantly reminded throughout the downturn that the talent shortage is set to return and now it’s upon them – particularly in the Mining & Construction sector.

“Businesses can’t afford to wait too long before they make a decision on talent growth plans. Those who act decisively will reap the benefits and snatch up the best talent in the market,” said Crawley.

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