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EMPLOYMENT: Employers Anticipate Conservative Hiring Pace in 4th Quarter


Recent Gauteng Business News

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of local hiring trends released yesterday reveals that South African employers expect some job growth in the upcoming quarter, however this will proceed at a weaker pace than in the first three quarters of the year. South Africa’s Net Employment Outlook now stands at a cautiously optimistic +6%, a single percentage point weaker than in the previous quarter and it is five percentage points stronger than in the same period a year ago.

South African employers forecast a steady headcount growth for the fourth quarter of 2010 with 11 percent of employers expecting to increase headcount, 5 percent forecasting a decrease, and 83 percent expecting no change to their payrolls during the coming quarter.

Peter Winn, Manpower South Africa Managing Director comments on the South African outlook: “We are seeing fewer employers indicating that they will add to their workforce in the coming quarter. However, the percentage of South African employers who indicated they would make ‘No Change’ to their staff levels increased from 78% in the third quarter to 83% this quarter. With the relatively steady Net Employment Outlook from the previous quarter, this suggests conservative optimism and strength in the South African labour market with employers determined to maintain the talent they have as we work towards recovery.

While South Africa’s fourth-quarter Outlook is the weakest reported in 2010, more than eight out of 10 employers plan to make no changes to their workforces in the next three months, indicating that the labor market is expected to remain stable but still grow at a modest pace.

This survey was conducted by interviewing a representative sample of some 752 employers in South Africa, where all survey participants were asked “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of December 2010 as compared to the current quarter?”
The Net Employment Outlook for South Africa is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating total employment to increase, and subtracting from this, the percentage expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter.
South Africa is part of the widely acclaimed Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which asks nearly 62,000 employers across 36 countries to help measure anticipated employment trends each quarter.

Employers in each of the five South African regions – Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal anticipate varying degrees of employer optimism in the last three months of the year and report positive hiring intentions. Those in the Free State region are the most optimistic, anticipating a steady hiring pace with an Outlook of +10%. Meanwhile, Western Cape and Gauteng employers report encouraging signs for job seekers with Outlooks of +8%. Hiring prospects are more uncertain in Kwazulu Natal where the Outlooks stand at +4% and the weakest hiring projections are reported in Gauteng, where employers expect the pace of hiring to be more modest at +3%.

Quarter-over-quarter, hiring prospects are moderately stronger in Free State, where the Outlook improves by 8 percentage points, and in Gauteng, employers report a moderate decline of 5 percentage points. The Kwazulu Natal Outlook declines by 2 percentage points.

Employers in all five regions predict a stronger hiring pace in a year-over-year comparison. The most notable improvement of 10 percentage points is reported by Free State employers, while in both Eastern Cape and Western Cape, the Outlook improves by 8 percentage points. Employers in Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng report slight improvements of 4 and 2 percentage points, respectively.

Looking at industry sector comparisons, employers in nine of the 10 sectors expect to add employees in the upcoming quarter. The only negative hiring intentions are reported by employers in the Construction sector with a disappointing Outlook of -4%. Job seekers can expect the strongest opportunities in the Mining and Quarrying sector where employers report an upbeat Net Employment Outlook of +18%. This is the sector’s strongest Outlook since the first quarter of 2009.

Elsewhere, a steady hiring pace is predicted. In the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector the Outlook stands at +12%, and the Electricity, Gas and Water Supply sector employers report a cautiously optimistic Outlook of +10%.

Quarter-over-quarter, employers in five industry sectors report stronger hiring intentions, most notably in the Manufacturing sector, where the Outlook improves by 9 percentage points. Meanwhile, in four other sectors the Outlook has weakened. The Restaurants and Hotels sector employers report a considerable decline of 18 percentage points, while the Outlook for the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing sector decreases by 9 percentage points.

Year-over-year, seven industry sectors have improved hiring prospects. The most notable increase of 18 percentage points is reported in the Outlook for the Mining and Quarrying sector, and considerable improvements of 13 and 12 percentage points are reported by employers in the Transport, Storage and Communication sector and the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector, respectively. Elsewhere, slight declines of 4 percentage points are reported by employers in Outlooks for the Restaurants and Hotels sector and the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing sector.

Internationally, the Manpower data shows employers in 28 of 36 countries and territories expect positive hiring activity in the fourth quarter, with those in five reporting negative hiring expectations—an improvement in comparison to the 12 countries reporting negative outlooks 12 months ago. Globally, employers in 32 countries and territories are reporting stronger year-over-year outlooks, with those in China, Taiwan, India and Brazil indicating the strongest fourth-quarter job prospects. The weakest hiring plans for the upcoming quarter are reported in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and Ireland.

In the EMEA region fourth-quarter hiring expectations remain mixed with employers in 10 countries anticipating varying degrees of positive hiring activity for the next three months, but those in 11 expect the pace of hiring to soften from three months ago. Notable improvements are reported across the region in the Finance and Business Services sector, most notably in Switzerland, Germany and Norway. Meanwhile, job prospects are expected to deteriorate further in Greece where employers report their least optimistic hiring intentions since the survey was launched.

In the Americas region employers anticipate positive hiring intentions across the region for the next three months. Hiring prospects in Brazil, driven by the strength in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate and Services Industry sectors, Peru and Costa Rica are the strongest within the region. Additionally Canadian employers are reporting their most optimistic forecast of 2010, fuelled largely by the most optimistic Manufacturing-Durable Goods Outlook in 10 years. Conversely, U.S. job seekers are likely to face the region’s weakest employment prospects.

The employers in the Asia Pacific region report positive hiring intentions for the next three months, with those in China and Taiwan reporting the strongest hiring expectations. Employer hiring plans are mixed with employers in Australia reporting a moderate decline, and those in India and New Zealand forecasting slightly weaker labour markets. Meanwhile, the hiring pace remains robust in India, fuelled by booming prospects for job seekers in the Public Administration/Education Industry sector.

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