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Employer confidence wanes

EMPLOYER confidence about employment growth has decreased in the first quarter of 2000 when compared to the final quarter of 1999, according to the recent Morgan & Banks Job Index.

The survey indicates employment growth will plateau in the next three months with 38.1 per cent of employers predicting increases in hiring and 12 per cent saying they intended to retrench personnel.

This gives a net effect of 26.2 per cent – a decrease of 1.4 per cent over the previous survey.

Even so, this still represents the second highest level of job optimism since the index was first released in April 1995.

Morgan & Banks chairman Geoff Morgan said the legal sector was most optimistic with 67.1 per cent of firms surveyed predicting job increases and only 1.4 per cent saying they will decrease staff, giving a net effect of 65.8 per cent.

“This is a record high for this industry and a massive 17.1 percentage point increase over the same period last year,” Mr Morgan said.

“The telecommunications, advertising and information technology sectors were the most positive about the future.

“Interestingly, all these sectors recorded a drop in optimism over the last two consecutive quarters.

“Medium sized firms with twenty to 200 employees will be the most prolific hirers in the next three months with a healthy 42.4 per cent planning to increase staff and only 9.1 per cent intending to dehire.

“Small organisations are quietly optimistic with 39 per cent in hiring mode and 6.1 per cent intending to downsize,” he said.

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