Manufacturing News

More manufacturing jobs in the new year

Australian job seekers could be in store for a happy new year, with employers reporting considerably stronger hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to the results of the recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Hiring intentions in the manufacturing sector for the first quarter of 2010 has increased substantially, with the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook at +16%, up from +2% in the last quarter.

This is due to an increase in the proportion of employers planning to increase hiring (25%, up from 15% in Q.4 2009), and a drop in planning to decrease hiring (9%, compared to 12% in Q.4).

The employment outlook for the manufacturing sector has experienced the highest year-on-year growth, bouncing back from -2% in Q1 2009 to +16% from the same period in 2010.

The overall survey of over 2,000 Australian employers indicates hiring intentions for the next three months have dramatically improved, with the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook at +19%, up from +8% in the last quarter.

The surge is due to an increase in the proportion of employers planning to increase hiring (26%, up from 18% in Q.4 2009) and a fall in the number planning to decrease hiring (7%, compared to 9% in Q.4 2009).

The figures indicate that job seekers should start the new year with employment opportunities similar to those seen prior to the global downturn.

“These results confirm the progress toward recovery we began to see in the final quarter of 2009. Australia appears to have turned a corner, with hiring intentions closer to the pace we saw before the downturn hit,” said Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director, Manpower Australia & New Zealand.

“Employers are gearing up for growth, and looking to put the right people in place to drive that growth,” said Crawley.

“For job seekers and disengaged employees, the beginning of 2010 could be the time to move. Buoyed by the recovering economy and revitalised job market, those who stayed put during the downturn are now ready to look elsewhere — especially if they were treated poorly.

There will be a scramble for top talent, and companies who aren’t prepared will miss out.”

Among the 35 countries surveyed, Australian employers report the sixth strongest first-quarter hiring plans, just behind India (+39%), Brazil (+31%), Singapore (+26%), Taiwan (+25%) and Costa Rica (+20%), and post one of the most notable quarter-over-quarter improvements in the Asia-Pacific region.

By comparison, employers in the United States (+6%) and parts of Europe, including the UK (+0%), France (+1%) are still anticipating only modest hiring improvements.

“The Australian employment outlook reflects the fact that we have fared much better in the downturn, being one of the few developed countries to avoid a recession,” said Crawley.

“Hopefully, these figures indicate that Australia will be one of the first countries to enter a sustained recovery period.”

Back at home, hiring expectations are strongest in the Services sector, (+24%, up from +13% last quarter).

The weakest hiring expectations are from employers in the Financial Services, Insurance and Real Estate sector (+12%) which had a moderate 5 percentage point improvement.

In almost every sector, the outlook has improved quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, the exception being Financial Services, Insurance and Real Estate, still 3 percentage points weaker than the forecast posted this time last year.

While the results of the survey are good news for job seekers, Crawley issued a warning for employers.

“While the downturn masked the pain of the talent shortage, it never actually went away – and it’s definitely set to return. So now is the time for companies to get their talent strategy in order, before they face the twin pressures of needing to hire more people, and watching an exodus of existing employees,” Crawley said.

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