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Firms stick to steady as she goes on jobs front, survey says

Firms stick to steady as she goes on employment front, survey says

By Fiona Rotherham

Sept. 30 (BusinessDesk) - Nearly two-thirds of employers intend keeping headcount steady this quarter, according to the latest Hudson quarterly report on employment trends.

However hiring intentions dipped 1 per cent to 30.8 percent, back to the same level as the start of the year.

The continuing fall in the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent backs up the "steady as she goes" approach to hiring seen this year, said Hudson's executive general manager Roman Rogers. "Organisations have slowly but surely added headcount quarter on quarter, in order to meet productivity goals and chase targets," he said.

The Canterbury rebuild continues to drive positive hiring intentions in the South Island which remain the highest in the country at 38.4 percent, although that figure dropped nearly 1 percent for this quarter. It follows a lumpy year for Canterbury employers.

"The Canterbury rebuild, whilst gaining momentum is not a straight line function. The natural wave and wane of large projects continue to make it difficult for employers to accurately assess their required investment in headcount. This has flow-on effects for the supply chain and workforce planning of the broader economy supplying into the rebuild," said Rogers.

Plans to hire more staff in the upper North Island fell 1.2 percent although one in three employers still intend to boost staff numbers and 63.6 percent intend keeping numbers steady. Investment in infrastructure around housing and roads remains a key driver of the regional economy.

The most positive hiring intentions came from the lower North Island which was up 3.8 percent for the coming quarter, although most employers plan to maintain existing numbers.

Financial services led the way in intending to hire more people, up 15.7 percent to 34.2 percent. There was a similar lift on the contracting side in this area where intentions to hire rose 5.7 percent to 25 percent. Rogers said financial institutions were under competitive pressure to create unique selling points and that was creating demand for expertise in customer insights and operational risk and compliance.

Hiring in ICT remains strong with 37.8 percent of employers wanting to lift permanent headcount and one in three intending to increase the number of contractors. The overall boost in contractor hiring - up 2.1 percent to 24.5 percent is a trend Hudson expects to continue as skills shortages increase over time.


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