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LABOUR: Manpower Employment Outlook Survey


Recent Gauteng Business News

South African employers continue to forecast modest opportunities for job seekers in the second quarter of 2011

JOHANNESBURG The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of local hiring trends released today reveals that South African employers report some encouraging signs for job seekers in the second quarter. Once seasonal variations* are removed from the data, South Africa’s Net Employment Outlook stands at +3%.When compared with the previous quarter, hiring intentions are unchanged, while year-over-year, the Outlook is 2 percentage points weaker.

Peter Winn, Manpower South Africa Managing Director comments: “Employers continue to report conservative hiring plans for the next three months, and hiring intentions have yet to recover to the promising levels routinely reported in 2007 and 2008. However, there are some positive signs: more than eight out of 10 employers have informed us that they have no plans to reduce payrolls in the next three months. We are encouraged by the message that President Jacob Zuma conveyed in his State of the Nation speech, emphasizing that there are plans to create jobs in six priority areas, including infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.”

This survey for the second quarter was conducted by interviewing a representative sample of 755 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 June 2011 as compared to the current quarter?” While 11 percent of employers expected to increase staffing levels, 5 percent forecast a decrease and 84 percent said they expected to maintain their current workforces intact during the April-June time period,

In a regional comparison, employers in four of the five regions predict an increase in staffing levels during the second quarter of 2011. The most optimistic hiring plans are reported by Western Cape employers, with a Net Employment Outlook of +9%, while modest payroll gains are anticipated in Free State, with an Outlook of +5%, and Gauteng, where employers report an Outlook of +4%. In Eastern Cape, employers report uncertain hiring prospects with an Outlook of -1%.

Quarter-over-quarter, hiring prospects strengthen moderately in Kwazulu Natal, where the Outlook improves by 7 percentage points, but are slightly weaker in Free State, with an Outlook decline of 3 percentage points. Elsewhere, the Outlook is either unchanged or remains relatively stable.

Year-over-year, the Outlook is weaker in three of the five regions. Employers report a decline of 7 percentage points in the Outlook for Kwazulu Natal, and a decrease of 6 percentage points is reported in Free State. Meanwhile, the Western Cape Outlook improves by 3 percentage points.

Employers in seven of the 10 industry sectors surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels during Quarter 2 of 2011. The most optimistic hiring prospects are reported in the Mining and Quarrying sector, where the Net Employment Outlook stands at +12%. Electricity, Gas and Water Supply sector employers report cautiously optimistic hiring plans, with an Outlook of +9%, and encouraging signs are evident in both the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services sector and the Restaurants and Hotels sector, with Outlooks of +7%. Meanwhile, employers in three sectors anticipate negative headcount growth, including the Manufacturing sector, where the Outlook stands at -8%.

Quarter-over-quarter, employers in five of the 10 industry sectors report weaker hiring prospects. The Manufacturing and Wholesale and Retail trade sectors reported the most notable declines of 5 and 4 percentage points, respectively. Elsewhere, hiring intentions have strengthened in two sectors. The Mining and Quarrying sector Outlook improves by 6 percentage points, and a 5 percentage point increase is reported by employers in the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing sector.

Year-over-year, employers in eight of the 10 industry sectors expect weaker hiring activity. The Outlook for the Transport, Storage and Communication sector decreases by 6 percentage points. The Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying and Restaurants and Hotels all reported Outlook declines of 4 percentage points. Employers in two sectors report improved hiring prospects, including the Construction sector, where the Outlook increases by 3 percentage points.

Internationally, employer hiring plans for the second quarter are strongest in emerging markets, such as India, Brazil and Turkey, compared to their more developed counterparts in the global labour market.

“Our second quarter data paints two very different pictures of recovery,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. “At one end of the spectrum we see the emerging markets in overdrive with employers confronting the talent crunch, and on the other we have countries like the U.S. and Japan where we see an improved hiring pace, but clearly not at full speed. We expect to see this uneven, multi-speed recovery persist throughout 2011.”

* Seasonal adjustments applied to the data make it possible to review the data without the employment fluctuations that “normally” occur at the same time each year, thus providing a clearer picture of labour market trends over time.

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