Business hiring intentions increase

Businesses show increase in hiring intentions for 2011, but the outlook is still down from it peak earlier this year

December 8, 2010

Demand for skilled labour will increase slightly in 2011, but business’ employment outlook is still down from its peak earlier this year.

The latest employment outlook survey from Manpower shows a slight growth in hiring prospects of 28 percent for the first quarter of 2011.

Another 7 percent forecast a decrease, while 63 percent anticipated no change in headcount.

The figure represents a 1 percent increase from the outlook for the December quarter and 4 percent less than the June quarter.

"Hiring prospects remain relatively stable quarter-over-quarter," the survey says.

Manpower surveyed 2,252 employers and found Western Australian firms reported the strongest outlook, followed by Victoria and South Australia.

According to the survey, the most optimistic hiring intentions are in the services sector and the public administration and education sector.

Both were closely followed by the mining and construction industry and the transport and utilities sector, where more employers anticipated an increase in staff levels than a decrease.

"Hiring prospects have improved by eight percentage points quarter-over-quarter and by six percentage points year-over-year," the survey says.

Manpower Managing Director Lincoln Crawley says the services sector has been "Australia’s quiet achiever".

"It’s the only sector where employer hiring expectations continued to increase through 2010, doing so consistently and without the fluctuations we’ve seen in many other sectors," he says.

Crawley says employers need to prepare for skills shortages in the coming year as the economy picks up.

"Organisations need to prioritise attraction and retention strategies as the war for talent will be heating up," he says.

Crawley cited the increase in employment prospects for the transport and utilities sector due to demand for services over the Christmas period to keep shelves replenished.

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