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Business confidence and hiring intentions steady among employers in Australia

Key survey findings: (Source: H1 2013 Michael Page Australia Employment Index)

  • 65% of employers predict business conditions will remain stable in H1 2013, with 19% expecting they will improve.
  • 24% of companies intend to increase staff numbers over H1 of 2013.
  • 54% of respondents said their hiring intentions and activity are impacted by the high Australian dollar.
  • 55% of employers are primarily concerned about achieving their business goals within allocated budget.

18 March 2013: Despite some prevailing challenges in the domestic market, the majority of employers remain confident about local business conditions, according to findings in the H1 2013 Michael Page Australia Employment Index.

While half of the survey respondents consider current business conditions in Australia to be satisfactory, this sentiment is expected to improve among the majority of employers over coming months. Some 65% of survey respondents believe that the domestic business environment will remain stable in the first half of the year and a further 19% expect business conditions will improve.

“Our survey findings suggest that employers in Australia remain relatively optimistic about the local market, which is encouraging,” says Mr. Phillip Guest, Regional Managing Director for Michael Page Australia, New Zealand and Japan. “This outlook is also reflected in some positive hiring intentions; with 24% of the employers we surveyed indicating they plan to increase headcount during the first half of the year and a further 54% expecting their staff numbers to remain largely stable.”

With regards to impacts on business activity, survey findings reveal that the high Australian dollar is having a mixed effect on domestic businesses. While some 54% of respondents reported no impact, the remaining 46% agreed that the high currency rate is affecting business activity levels. This primarily applies to export-led businesses, such as manufacturing.

“For those employers we surveyed whose businesses are being impacted by the high Australian dollar, 54% said it was affecting their hiring intentions and activity, such as through headcount freezes, replacement hiring only or hiring for revenue-generation roles. This issue is further compounded in some sectors such as retail, which is experiencing structural change at the same time as dealing with the high dollar,” Mr. Guest adds.

Another challenge some companies are facing is being able to deliver on their business goals and growth objectives while remaining within their budgets. Secondary business concerns include the global economic outlook (18%) and people management and engagement (13%).

To read the full report visit the Michael Page Australia online News & Research Centre: