08/09/2009 - 10:54

WA job seekers in for tough Dec quarter

08/09/2009 - 10:54

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The state's job market is tipped to suffer a setback in the December quarter as hiring intentions by employers dip below the national outlook average, a new employment survey shows.

WA job seekers in for tough Dec quarter

The state's job market is tipped to suffer a setback in the December quarter as hiring intentions by employers dip below the national outlook average, a new employment survey shows.

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

The final quarter of 2009 will see a setback in the Western Australia job market, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today.

The survey of 2,333 employers indicates hiring intentions for the next three months have slightly decreased, with the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook at +2%, down from 6% in the last quarter. This is due to a decrease in the proportion of employers planning to increase hiring (17%, down from 19% in Q.3). The number planning to decrease hiring is still decreasing (13%, compared to 14% in Q.3), however this was not enough to save WA from a drop in the net employment outlook for this quarter. Hiring intentions remain much weaker than a year ago, when the Net Employment Outlook was +22%. WA is also well behind the national outlook average of 7%.

"The Q.4 outlook for Western Australia has weakened, after signs of a recovery in Q.3., and also represents the most negative outlook compared to other Australian states and territories. These results demonstrate the current fluidity of the job market, and should be a message to other states who have posted increasingly positive outlooks that the market is only just stabilising and there is still a need for caution," said Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director, Manpower Australia and New Zealand.

The employment outlook on a national scale, however, does look increasingly optimistic, with the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook at +7%, up from +2% in the last quarter. However, the country still has a long way to go before reaching the levels seen last year, when the Net Employment Outlook was +16%.

"Two successive quarters of improving employer forecasts are an encouraging sign that the employment market has turned the corner: the employment forecast for Australia has climbed from -1% in the second quarter to a level of cautious optimism. It's also a testament to the resilience of the Australian labour market that we have avoided recording a negative Outlook this quarter; unfortunately, many other countries in the Manpower network have not been so fortunate," said Mr Crawley.

Certain industries had a particularly bright outlook, with 23% of Mining & Construction employers planning to increase hiring (up from 15% in Q.3) and 20% of Transportation & Utilities employers (up from 13%).

A major change since the last survey was the finding that no industry sector employers reported a negative Net Employment Outlook. Employers in the Manufacturing, the Mining & Construction and the Wholesale & Retail Trade industry sectors all project a positive hiring pace in the forthcoming quarter.

"One of the defining characteristics of this downturn has been the way in which different industry sectors have felt the pain. For example, the Manufacturing sector suffered two consecutive quarters of negative Outlooks, although it has now returned to positive territory. Conversely, the Services sector has weathered the storm well, never straying into negative territory, with employers reporting the most optimistic hiring intentions among all of the sectors surveyed for the fourth quarter.

"The message here for jobseekers is that it's vital to stay flexible, retrain where possible and tap into networks for new opportunities. The economy hasn't contracted evenly, nor will it grow again in a uniform way, so people need to be adaptable and go where the demand is," Mr Crawley said.

While the Net Employment Outlook is yet to reach the heights seen during the boom, when it peaked at +29% (in Q.2, 2007 and 2008), Manpower believes that the war for talent is gathering pace again.

"We have already seen in our research, and in talking to employers, that skills shortages still exist in some areas of the Australian employment market, including engineers, sales professionals and trades. And while the downturn has provided a welcome respite for many organisations who had struggled to find the talent they need, it certainly won't last forever. Smart companies will be working hard, right now, to both attract and retain top performers who will see them through the downturn and beyond," Mr Crawley said.

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