GIVEN that the outlook for the Australian economy remains mixed, it should come as little surprise that employers' hiring intentions for 2013 are similarly varied.
According to the latest employment trends report released by recruitment and talent management experts Hudson, almost two-thirds of Australian employers intend to maintain their staffing levels, with almost one quarter looking to expand their workforce.
Hudson Asia Pacific chief executive Mark Steyn said with mixed economic indicators and the well-covered slowdown in the mining sector and fluctuations in Chinese demand, employers were making their own interpretations and applying those to their business and hiring needs.
"Some employers are sitting tight and delaying hiring or, in some cases, looking at ways they can cut costs should circumstances worsen," Mr Steyn said.
"While others are forging ahead, adapting their business models and continuing to invest and this is driving the demand for staff."
According to Hudson's research, information technology is the most positive industry nationally, reflecting organisations' investment in innovation, improved customer engagement, better business processes and productivity.
About 12,300 new ICT jobs are expected to be created in 2013, with further growth anticipated to 2015.
Positive hiring intentions also increased in transport, manufacturing and financial services and insurance.
That the resources sector reported the biggest decrease in hiring intentions should come as no surprise, but in turn has a flow-on effect for other sectors, including construction, engineering and professional services. Healthcare (excluding government roles) and utilities also reported lowered hiring expectations.
Mr Steyn said employers were as focused on getting more from their current staff as they were on expanding their workforce.
He said improving productivity through better work practices was key for many organisations.
"Employers are heavily focused on driving productivity and most are asking more of their people as a result," Mr Steyn said.
"Staff retention, capability and strong leaders have a material impact on productivity and must be addressed if employers are to succeed in their quest."
In terms of professions, marketing and communications roles saw the greatest increase in hiring intentions, with legal positions - despite recording a decrease in the reporting period - reporting the most positive outlook.