Employers cautious on hiring

Recruiting firm survey shows employers reluctant to put on staff

Nearly four in five Australian employers have no plans to put on new workers in the next three months.

A survey of 5,400 Australian employers found a high degree of caution, with 63.2 per cent intending to maintain their employee numbers at current levels.

That forecast for the three months to the end of September was steady compared to the previous survey, carried out by global recruitment firm Hudson.

Those planning to cut staff numbers in the three months to September was up by 1.6 per cent to 14.2 per cent.

The number of businesses planning to put on more staff fell 1.6 per cent to 22.5 per cent.

The report's authors described the approach to hiring as cautious.

It comes after NAB's most recent business survey showed business confidence in Australia was poor and below trend - despite the fact the economy is still growing.

The bank also predicted unemployment could exceed six per cent by year's end, from its current 5.5 per cent.

According to Hudson, Victorian businesses had the lowest expectations of hiring new staff, at 21.5 per cent.

Western Australia suffered the biggest drop in hiring intentions, a 7.6 per cent fall to 24.9 per cent, driven down by the slowdown in the resources industry.

There have been thousands of job losses across the country in resources, the latest being US giant Peabody Energy's 450 job cuts at its Australian coal mines.

One bright spot in hiring intentions was in Canberra, where government sector intentions to boost staff lifted 9.1 per cent to 24.3 per cent.

Despite the looming federal election, there were still essential projects needing employees being rolled out, such as the national disability insurance scheme, Hudson's report said.

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