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Australian Employer Confidence At New High: Hudson Report

February 1 2010 - Confidence among Australian employers has increased to the highest level since September 2008 according to a recent Hudson Report: Employment Expectations Survey.

For three consecutive quarters, Australian employers have indicated greater hiring intentions with a net 29.1% of employers stating that they intended to increase permanent staff levels over the January-March 2010 period.

Mark Steyn, CEO Hudson Australia/New Zealand, said:

"This is an excellent result to begin the New Year. It's well above the record low in the June 2009 quarter, when sentiment was virtually zero. Australian hiring intentions are now drawing much closer to pre-downturn levels."

While all States and Territories and most industries recording a significant increase in sentiment for at least two quarters, Western Australia showed the highest quarterly increase. A net 43.1% of employers were intending to increase permanent staff levels in the first quarter of 2010.

Mark Steyn commented:

"WA has rebounded strongly as resurgent demand from China and a recovery in commodities prices sees a range of projects being fast-tracked."

said Steyn.

Queensland has also showed a strong positive result - up 16.2 percentage points to 35.3%. According to Steyn: "The improved outlook for mining and resources together with the stimulus provided by government infrastructure projects has seen sentiment continue to improve."

New South Wales showed an increase of 9.6 percentage points to 27.3%. ACT employers reported the lowest increase - just 1.7 percentage points to a net 30.1% intending to increase permanent staff levels in the first quarter. Steyn said: "The ACT has performed very strongly all year relative to other States and Territories. Whilst this is a relatively small rise, the ACT is still one of the most positive regions in Australia.

Noting the strong growth of confidence in Professional Services and IT industries, Steyne concluded:

"This rise in employers actively hiring again, shown in these figures, is an extremely positive trend and one that is clearly gaining strong traction. The swing in these figures indicates that many of those employers who initially had reduced headcount and subsequently transitioned to a cautious 'wait and see' mode are now starting to actively hire again.

"The Australian economy has undoubtedly outperformed expectations in recent months," he said. "Consistent net employment growth is expected to be well underway during 2010, once spare capacity in the number of average hours worked has been absorbed.

"We're already feeling the pinch of skills shortages in some regions and industries and this will certainly tighten as the economy continues to gain strength. It's imperative that Australian employers turn their attention to effective talent acquisition, development and retention activities to preserve healthy, viable, profitable business while positioning themselves for future growth."

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