Job market remains resilient

EMPLOYER hiring intentions in Australia are at their lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2009 an employment survey has found although some mining and construction companies have forecast payroll gains in the coming quarter.
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Brooke Showers

Recruitment and human resources firm Employment Manpower Group has revealed Australian employers have cautiously optimistic hiring plans for the rest of 2012 in its quarterly index of employer hiring confidence.

After interviewing 2261 employers nationally, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey showed 20% of employers expected to increase staffing levels, 11% anticipated a decrease and 67% forecasting no change.

When the percentage of employers which expect to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter is subtracted from those anticipating an increase in hiring activity, the net employment outlook for Australia stands at +9%.

This represented a decline of 1% since last quarter’s outlook and was 6% lower compared to last year.

Despite the overall hiring pace being expected to lose momentum on both a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis, Manpower said positive hiring intentions were reported in six of seven industry sectors and in seven of eight Australian regions.

“The jobs market appears quite resilient in the face of concerns about the carbon tax, the continuing Eurozone crisis and fears of a Chinese slowdown,” Manpower said.

“The survey results support the view that there is a structural shift occurring in the economy, with demand for professional skills in areas such as services and mining helping to offset the continued loss of manufacturing positions.”

Hiring prospects were strongest in Northern Territory and Western Australia, with net employment outlooks of +24% and +22%, respectively.

Tasmanian employers reported a struggling labour market with an outlook rating of -6%.

Manpower said the mining and construction industries were showing encouraging signs for job seekers in the fourth quarter with a net employment outlook +10%.

Hiring intentions remained relatively stable for mining quarter-over-quarter but declined by 6% year-over-year.

At an international level, Manpower interviewed nearly 66,000 hiring managers across 42 countries and territories to measure employer hiring expectations between October and December 2012.

The fourth-quarter research demonstrated uncertainty in the global marketplace, particularly in Europe, in addition to signs of slowdowns in India, China and Brazil, was contributing to a generally weaker forecast.

In mainland China, the net employment outlook sunk to its weakest level in nearly three years.

In the US, employers expected the hiring pace to remain at similarly steady levels seen throughout the past year, the survey showed, with positive forecasts reported by employers in all sectors and regions which participated.

In light of the evolving job market against the global economy’s transition phase, Manpower recommended job seekers focus on the areas which were growing and be willing to adapt.

“That may mean moving locations, retraining or updating your skills,” the group said.

“The key is to go where the work is and develop the skills that are in demand.”

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.

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