Global uncertainty affects hiring

HIRING intentions in the transport and utilities sector have fallen sharply for the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

In the transport and utilities sector, 24% of employers intend to increase their hiring in the first quarter - down from 27% in the fourth quarter of last year - while 11% plan to decrease - up from 6% in Q4. Once adjusted to remove seasonal variations in the data, the sector's Net Employment Outlook has fallen 11 percentage points quarter-over-quarter to +9%.

According to ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand's managing director Lincoln Crawley, employers in transport are reining in hiring in response to uncertainty in the global economy.

"The transport sector is a huge supplier for the mining and construction sector, and retail and wholesale trade sectors. Hiring intentions in these sectors have fallen, and that is flowing through to transport needs," Mr Crawley said.

"Nonetheless, transport companies are still competing with resources companies for particular skills, with high demand expected to continue for truck drivers with both medium combination and heavy combination licences, and forklift drivers.

"The utilities sector is also looking brighter, with major electrical infrastructure projects and the NBN on the horizon in 2012. These projects will increase pressure on the market for cable jointers, welding roles and skilled electrical linesmen."

Overall, the Australian employment market is holding firm in the face of global market uncertainty, with employers reporting a Net Employment Outlook (NEO) of +14% for the first quarter of 2012.

In Australia, 23% of employers expect to increase hiring, while the number of employers planning to decrease hiring is at 10%.

Mr Crawley said the job market was showing resilience in comparison to other markets: the United States' NEO is +9%, while the United Kingdom's is 0%.

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