Trade Resources Economy Hiring Sentiment for The Second Quarter of 2013 Will Remain Subdued

Hiring Sentiment for The Second Quarter of 2013 Will Remain Subdued

The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results show hiring sentiment for the second quarter of 2013 will remain subdued, as local economic and political uncertainty continues to affect employers. The survey found employers' hiring intentions in the transport and utilities sector fell four percentage points to a net employment outlook of +11%, above the national outlook of +4%.

The survey, which measures over 2,200 Australian employers' hiring intentions for the coming quarter, found that 11 per cent of employers in transport and utilities plan to decrease hiring in the next quarter, 19 per cent plan to increase hiring and 68 per cent will make no changes to their hiring plans. The seasonally adjusted NEO of +11%, is down eight percentage points year-on-year, and reflects the subdued sentiment in the market.

"We've seen a number of conflicting economic indicators recently. Consumer and business sentiment recovered slightly in January, while retail sales during December were weak and building approvals were also subdued," said Lincoln Crawley, managing director of ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand.

"These conflicting indicators, coupled with the uncertainty an election year brings, are creating caution in the job market, as employers take a wait and see attitude to hiring. Against this backdrop we are helping organisations increase their focus on improving workforce productivity, through employee development, training and up-skilling, as a way to build on the talent they already have," he said.

Wait and See Sentiment Permeates The Australian Market

Across the country, employers in Queensland showed the most optimism, buoyed by oil and gas projects in the state, reporting a six percentage point increase to an NEO of +11%. Employers in New South Wales increased their hiring outlook by three percentage points to an NEO of +9% and in Tasmania increased their hiring outlook by five percentage points to an outlook of +1%, taking the state out of negative hiring sentiment.

Employers in Victoria reported an NEO of +11% and in the ACT an NEO of +8%, both results remaining steady from last quarter.

In a quarter-over-quarter comparison, employers in South Australia report the biggest drop in hiring intentions, with the NEO falling six percentage points to -1%. Employers in Western Australia and the Northern Territory also expect a drop in hiring, reporting outlooks of +10%, down four percentage points, and +13%, down one percentage point, respectively.

"This is the first time we have seen Western Australia's employment outlook fall behind the other regions since 2010, suggesting the recent rally in commodities and positive activity in China is yet to flow through to jobs in resources. Projects like Roy Hill have predicted that they will no longer need the 1700 foreign workers applied for under the EMA scheme, as there are now enough local workers in the market to fill roles," Mr Crawley said.

Among the sectors, mining and construction rose two percentage points to +2% and the public administration and education sector rose five percentage points to +1%.

The wholesale and retail trade sector fell two percentage points to an outlook of +4%. The outlook in finance, insurance and real estate fell three percentage points to +16%, and services and manufacturing both fell one percentage point to +14% and +2% respectively.

"There is a move towards role flexibility with employees increasingly wearing two or three 'hats' to improve workforce efficiency, so job seekers that show they can be dynamic will become vital to organisations.

"The softening in areas such as the resources sector has meant the urgency of skills shortages has declined. However, with many market indicators on the increase signifying a slow but steady recovery in the economy, it is critical for employers to look ahead at the talent they will need in the next year and build a workforce strategy that aligns with their business strategy," Mr Crawley said. (67)

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Wait and See Sentiment Permeates The Australian Market
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