Transporters rein in hiring expectations

Weak national employment outlook spreads to transport, with operators expecting to rein in hiring expectations for last quarter of 2011

Transporters rein in hiring expectations
Transporters rein in hiring expectations
September 13, 2011

A weak national employment outlook has spread to the transport and utilities sector, with operators expecting to rein in hiring expectations for the last quarter of 2011.

Announcing a 6 percent drop in the sector’s employment outlook to 21 percent, the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals a decline in the number of companies in the transport and utilities sector planning on adding to their workforce.

The fall mirrors a noticeable drop in hiring optimism in the mining and construction and retail sectors. Manpower says the seasonally adjusted national net employment outlook has declined by 3 percent quarter-over-quarter and 4 percent year-over-year to sit at 16 percent.

ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Lincoln Crawley says declining activity in the manufacturing and retail sector will affect jobs, including the transport and utilities sector which supports them.

However, he adds that there is a bright outlook for utilities workers beyond the fourth quarter, when demand for workers for energy infrastructure upgrade projects is tipped to increase.

He says companies will need to put in place strategies to retain skilled tradespeople to stop them chasing more lucrative work elsewhere.

"It can’t be just about money," he says.

"Training, development, internal work opportunities and better lifestyle options are going to become increasingly relevant."

While referring to the recent increase in the unemployment rate as proof of a decline in business optimism, Crawley says it is important for employers and job seekers to keep "some perspective".

"The Asia Pacific region, including Australia, has a much more positive hiring outlook than most other places in the world," he says.

"Tough employment expectations have decreased for the next three months, we still don’t have enough skilled workers to fix our skills shortage – there may be plenty of people but the majority simply don’t fit the job description."

He says training facilities need to be established to help job seekers affected by the downturn in the manufacturing sector so they can find suitable employment elsewhere.

"It would make sense to retrain them into the resources sector to help fill the gap," Crawley says.

He also wants greater emphasis on attracting skilled workers from overseas and for employers to take a more realistic approach to filling vacancies.

"Employers are aware of and impacted by the skills shortage yet they continue to look for employees who are a 100 percent fit to their requirements," Crawley says.

"That’s unrealistic for many skills in the market. Employers need to consider candidates who match most of but not all of their requirements and training and developing that last 10-20 percent.

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