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Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

8 December 2010

New Zealand employers still jittery in Q1 2011: Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Employers in New Zealand’s industry sectors are sending mixed messages in their employment forecasts, as hiring optimism continues to fluctuate, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today.

The survey of more than 650 New Zealand employers indicates hiring for the first quarter of 2011 will remain steady overall, with the Manufacturing and Services sectors buoying the employment market. The seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook is at +16%, unchanged from the final quarter of 2010. The number of employers planning to increase hiring has increased to 24 per cent (up from 22 per cent last quarter), while the number of employers planning to decrease headcount has increased by one percentage point to 8 per cent.

Mr Chris Riley, General Manager of Manpower New Zealand, believes that local companies still have the jitters in the aftermath of the recession.

“There hasn’t been a clear trend or pattern this year, in terms of which sectors are hiring strongly. Ultimately, labour market recovery is a slow process and there is a still a perceived risk and uncertainty among companies looking to expand their workforces,” he said.

Employers in the Manufacturing sector showed the biggest increase in hiring optimism, with the Net Employment Outlook up 7 percentage points to +20%. On the flip side, employers in the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector say they will downshift hiring plans for the start of 2011 with a drop of 13 percentage points to +12%.

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According to Mr Riley, banks in particular are running lean.

“Finance and Insurance companies have had to get used to doing more with less since the global financial crisis. So they are focusing instead on increasing productivity rather than building their workforce.”

Net Employment Outlooks across New Zealand regions are still modest. Mr Riley advises job seekers to keep their eye on Christchurch in 2011.

“The earthquake has had a significant impact on employment in the area, but as restoration efforts get under way we expect to see a spike in hiring intentions in the coming months, and this should have a domino effect to New Zealand’s job market, right across the country,” he said.

For job seekers, Mr Riley says the key is to develop skill sets that are flexible, and travel well.

“With the war for talent set to take full force next year, job seekers are going to have a much better time in 2011. But for companies looking to fill positions, it’s going to get tougher. They’ll need to become more flexible with job criteria, considering candidates who tick most, but not all, of their requirement boxes.

“With this in mind, candidates who are willing and able to reskill, change industries or relocate should have an abundance of opportunities to succeed”.


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