The latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey has found that there are positive hiring intentions in the manufacturing sector, with employers in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate reporting the strongest outlook, and employers in Public Administration, Wholesale Trade & Retail Trade reporting the weakest outlook compared to last year’s corresponding period.
The survey, which canvassed the opinion of over 1,500 Australian employers for the coming quarter, has found that hiring intentions in the sector are up seven percentage points on this time last year, despite the Australian Industry Group’s (AIG) Performance of Manufacturing Index reporting a contraction in the sector for the third consecutive month in February.
The survey found that 19% of employers in the Manufacturing sector plan to hire additional staff in the coming quarter, 11% plan to decrease hiring, and 69% plan to stick with their current set up. According to the survey, the resulting Net Employment Outlook (NEO) of +5% is up two percentage points quarter-on-quarter.
Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director, ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand said the positive hiring intention in the sector can be attributed to several industry occurrences.
“Manufacturing scaled back hard in 2009, and the sector has remained volatile since. The positive hiring intention for the coming quarter is likely due to a number of things. The low dollar is allowing growth in the export market for manufacturers, as that leads to increased demand many will be looking to hire on a non-permanent basis to account for further activity,” Mr Crawley said.
“There are also regions across the country where we are seeing a high demand for local products –particularly in the food and beverage space, which the Australian Industry Group notes is one of the sector’s growth areas. As the media focuses on local agribusiness and the longevity of the Australian agriculture industry, we will continue to see consumer behaviours change and demand follow. It’s good to see Australia’s growing ‘foodie’ culture lead to real activity for some of our manufacturers and producers.”
He said the employment outlook reflected the mixed economic and market signals affecting business confidence.
“Low growth, falling wages and lower consumer confidence coupled with uncertainty about Federal Government leadership is causing many Australian employers to reign in their hiring plans for Quarter 2 or stop them altogether. There are some bright spots. However, we’re not seeing clear signs that hiring activity will gain any additional traction in the next three months, and employers certain uncertainty in Australia,” Mr Crawley said.
The Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors posted the strongest NEO of +18%, while the Services industry reported an NEO of +13% – the strongest quarter on quarter increase of all industry sectors.
Public Administration, Wholesale Trade & Retail Trade and Transportation and Utilities employers reported the weakest outlook quarter on quarter, with the Wholesale Trade & Retail Trade and Transportation and Utilities sectors also recording a considerable decrease of 10 percentage points year on year.
Comparing regions, employers in Victoria and South Australia reported the most positive increase to hiring in quarter two, whereas Tasmanian employers reported the largest drop quarter by quarter, with a moderate decrease of -9%.
Similarly, employers in Queensland also reported a moderate quarterly slide of six percentage points, whereas hiring activity in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales are expected to see little change from the previous quarter, with employers reporting Outlooks of +15%, 5% and +1% respectively.