Hiring intentions in the South Island are at an eight-year high, according to the latest Hudson Report Employment and HR Trends. A net 40.1% of employers in the region intend to increase permanent staff numbers in the first quarter of 2012, which is more than double the national average.
“Treasury has predicted that the influx of government and insurance money will contribute to an economic rebuild that is now likely to be larger and longer lived than previously thought,” says Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.
Across the rest of New Zealand, a net 18.0% of employers are planning to increase their net permanent headcount between January and March this year, which is down 4.6 percentage points (pp) on last quarter, and down 6.4pp compared to the same time last year.
“While this represents a relatively sizeable change in net sentiment, many employers are considering the potential impact of external factors, like recent events in Europe, and carefully assessing their current talent pool before taking on new hires,” says Rogers.
“Nearly two-thirds of employers are planning to hold their staff levels steady. We’re seeing a strong focus on driving productivity and performance among existing employees complemented by strategic hires of high performers.”
“Furthermore, we expect high demand in certain roles, such as project managers in the construction and IT sectors as well as for customer facing IT specialists.
“Now more than ever, in a turbulent economic climate, the cost of a bad hire is crippling. It is essential that employers have a robust process in place to rigorously assess and secure the best people for their businesses.”
Nationally, information technology is the most confident sector with a net sentiment of 43.4%. The telecommunications sector is increasingly buoyant, up 6.4 pp to 32.4% this quarter, coinciding with structural changes in some of our biggest organisations, as well as the increasing momentum of the ultra-fast broadband roll-out. The construction/ property/ engineering industry at net 36.4% is the second most confident sector, propelled by the Canterbury rebuild.
Following the general election, net sentiment in the government sector has increased strongly from last quarter, up 7.1pp to 9.0%. This is 2.0pp down on the corresponding time last year, and it remains to be seen whether the National Government’s commitment to a ‘sinking lid’ on full-time employees will eventuate.
Sentiment in the financial services/insurance industry has slipped 11.7pp to a net 11.2% following continued volatility in overseas financial markets and increasingly difficult access for New Zealand banks to offshore debt markets. The hiring intentions in the manufacturing, education and FMCG sectors are also down on last quarter.
In contrast to a big increase last quarter, employer confidence among small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) has slipped 16.7pp to a net 16.0%. Almost three-quarters of these businesses intend to keep headcount steady during the forthcoming quarter. Rogers comments, “This change in employer confidence from small businesses reflects general consumer confidence with people adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude at the beginning of the new year in light of volatility on global financial markets and Australia and China’s economic performance.”