Hudson Report reveals downward pressure on hiring intentions – Optimising recruitment processes more critical than ever advises Hudson
The latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released today highlights downward pressure on hiring expectations with the number of employers expecting to increase headcount dropping 1.6 percentage points (pp) to 20.9%, the lowest level since Q3 2009.
The proportion of employers expecting to maintain current headcount increased 2.1pp to 65.3%, the highest level since Q4 2009, while intentions to decrease headcount dropped 0.4pp to 13.8%.
“While there is downward pressure on hiring expectations, it’s not as pronounced as it was entering into the GFC where the rate of employers decreasing headcount was much higher. We’re seeing liquidity in the market – many employers are reshaping their teams, but are not increasing their overall headcount,” said Mark Steyn, CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific.
“Organisations cannot shrink their way to success. Individuals, who can help transform businesses, lift productivity and open up revenue streams to compete more effectively, remain in high demand. So, while employers may not be growing their overall workforces they are looking for the right people to transform their businesses and ensure they are well positioned,” added Steyn.
When looking at the individual Australian states and territories, some significant state-specific industry fluctuations were revealed. Key findings included:
- South Australia has the strongest intentions to hire, up 1.0pp to 24.2%. Information Technology held the highest intention to hire for the third consecutive quarter
- Western Australia saw intentions to increase headcount fall 1.6pp to 23.3%, while the Resources industry saw intentions to hire fall 5.3pp to 9.1%
- New South Wales has seen the most significant lift in hiring expectations, up 1.3pp to 23.2%, where expectations of hiring in Government have lifted 23.5pp to 38.0%, the highest of all the state’s industries
- ACT has seen a drop in hiring expectations of 4.1pp to 22.2%, largely driven by a 7.5pp fall in hiring expectations for Government in the region
- Queensland hiring expectations fell 3.4pp while expectations to maintain headcount rose 3.7pp. Hiring intentions for the Resources industry increased 4.0pp in QLD while hiring intentions for the industry nationally rose by only 0.8pp
- Victoria has the lowest expectations to increase headcount, down 5.3pp to 16.2%. It also saw the biggest increase in intention to maintain headcounts, up 7.0pp to 68.3%, the highest of all states.
Nationally, Information Technology has the highest intention to hire of all industries, up 3.3pp to 36.0%. IT is followed by Professional Services, down 3.1pp to 31.1%. The Utilities industry has the lowest expectation to hire at 13.6%, while expectation to hire in Manufacturing improved 6.0pp to 14.6%. By profession, the recruitment outlook is strongest for Information, Communications & Technology, followed by Technical & Engineering.
“The findings indicate businesses are taking a cautious approach to recruitment, but there are signs that suggest this may change,” said Steyn. “With the long lead up to the Federal Election many organisations have waited to see what would happen before making firm recruitment commitments. Interest rate cuts have stimulated the housing market, while the falling Australian dollar is easing pressures in other markets. These influencing factors add to the likelihood of an improvement in the recruitment outlook over the next year.”
“That said, organisations need to ensure their workforces are developed to succeed in today’s conditions. That requires:
1. Identifying necessary capabilities for the organisation – having a strong understanding of the current workforce and identifying the capabilities needed for success. It’s about getting the right blend of competencies and know-how that the business can be leverage to best effect.
2. Assessment – mitigating against the risk of making a poor hire – more costly than ever in this environment.
3. Retention planning – even in a subdued market where salaries and bonuses are under pressure, there are always jobs for high performers. This will only increase when the market improves. Employers should invest in the leaders that can take their businesses forward and develop retention plans to keep them.
4. Transitioning people effectively, particularly leaders – Use stringent assessment techniques and professional support and development mechanisms to successfully transition the right people into new roles.
“That’s the recipe. It’s a simple one but those businesses that apply this process will be in the best shape when confidence starts to return to the market.
“Of course organisations will want to reduce the cost of recruitment to drive efficiencies, while not cutting value. And it’s not easy for businesses to find the right blend of skills and people, and to retain them. In some cases innovative and flexible methods of recruitment process outsourcing can be a cost-effective method of meeting the challenges of the market.”
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