(Australian Associated Press)
Most of Australia’s employers aren’t in a rush to hire more staff.
Workforce expert ManpowerGroup says hiring intentions are at their weakest in two-and-a-half years.
According to ManpowerGroup’s latest quarterly outlook survey, 78 per cent of more than 1,500 employers surveyed across Australia say they won’t make any change to their current headcount in the months ahead.
Thirteen per cent will increase their workforce, nine per cent will drop staff.
“Across the nation, there is an overriding wait-and-see sentiment permeating employer hiring intentions,” ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand managing director Richard Fischer said on Tuesday.
Mr Fischer said businesses were trying to become more efficient as they repositioned for the future, so companies had reduced hiring and were outsourcing services.
However there was strong demand for specialists who could improve the efficiency of a business, in areas such as mobility and digital transformation.
On a state-by-state basis, only employers in South Australia have lifted their hiring intentions – despite negative sentiment toward’s the state’s economy.
ManpowerGroup said the relatively modest cost of living in South Australia had attracted more national employers.
Western Australia reported the biggest fall in hiring intentions – down 20 per cent – as employers responded to the downturn in the resources sector.
The strongest employment opportunities by sector were in the areas of finance, insurance and real estate.
Employers in the transport and utilities sector lifted hiring intentions, driven largely by lower oil prices increasing demand.
But the mining and construction, and retail sectors expected to shed jobs.
The ManpowerGroup’s outlook survey follows a jobs ads report from the ANZ bank on Monday showing that the average weekly number of job advertisements in newspapers and on the internet in February fell 1.2 per cent from levels in January.
Job ads were at the lowest level since October 2015.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said growth in job advertising had slowed sharply in recent months.
He said the fall in ads in February may reflect business caution amid volatility on financial markets and negative news about the global economy.