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Kenny McGilvary
Acumen Republic
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Media Release



Cautious employment outlook reflected in every region

Sydney, Australia – 27 JUNE 2013 – The latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released today1 reveals that a high degree of cautiousness remains among employers, with intentions to maintain current headcount staying steady at 63.2%.

The proportion of employers expecting to increase headcount dropped 1.6 percentage points (pp) to 22.5%, while intentions to decrease headcount went up 1.6pp to 14.2%.

“It is not a big surprise to see this continued ‘hold steady’ approach to hiring intentions in Australia,” said Mark Steyn, CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific. “There is still a real sense of uncertainty regarding the international economic outlook, which has a strong bearing on the hiring expectations in our local market.” When looking at the individual Australian states and territories, overall differences in hiring expectations are small, with some large state-specific industry changes. Key findings included:

  • Australian Capital Territory has the strongest intentions to hire, and has seen the most significant lift in hiring expectations, up 6.1pp to 26.3%. Government sector intentions to increase headcount rose 9.1pp to 24.3%.
  • Western Australia has experienced the biggest drop in intentions to hire, down 7.6pp to 24.9%. Its Resources sector has seen a drop of 21.7pp in expectations to hire, down to 14.4%.
  • South Australia has seen the second highest increase in expectations to hire, up 5.0pp to 23.2%.
  • New South Wales has the highest expectation to maintain headcount levels of all regions, up 3.3pp to 66.2%, led by significant increases in the Information Technology and Professional Services industries.
  • Queensland has seen the smallest amount of movement in overall hiring intentions, with an increase of 3.1pp in expectations to reduce headcount, led by the Resources industry.
  • Victoria has the lowest expectations to increase headcount, down 0.7pp to 21.5%. The expectation to reduce headcount in its Construction/Property/Engineering sector (up 27.3pp) is the biggest movement of any regional industry.

Nationally, Professional Services has the highest intentions to hire of all industries, followed by Information Technology. Manufacturing has the lowest expectation to hire. By profession, the recruitment outlook is strongest for Legal, followed by Information, Communications & Technology.

“Many market commentators believe the peak of investment in the Resources sector has passed, so it is not a surprise to see lower hiring expectations for Western Australian and Queensland. This also affects those associated industries that support and supply it,” commented Steyn.

“Even with the Federal election just a few months away, there are still essential projects and operational functions in the ACT, such as the roll out of the national disability insurance scheme, that continue to require resources to deliver services and outcomes to set deadlines.”

The Report also examined how organisations are assessing and developing leadership in Australia. Key findings include:

  • Two in five respondents (40.2%) believe that people management is where there is the biggest shortfall in Australian leadership, followed by poor business decisions (19.4%) and change management (19.0%)
  • The best leaders are seen to spend the majority of their time developing strategy and company direction (56.7%), and developing a positive company culture (44.9%)
  • A lack of clear vision and direction is seen as the most likely reason for leaders to derail an organisation (26.2%), followed by poor collaboration within the organisation (16.8%) or with leadership (14.4%)
  • 38.7% of Australian leaders have had their leadership skills formally assessed in their current organisation

“Australian employers are challenged with an emerging mismatch between the skills and competencies that exist within their organisation and those required to operate successfully in today’s economic climate. To address this, organisations need to develop employees with the right blend of cultural fit, technical skills and leadership qualities to take their businesses forward.”

The value of effective leadership is critical in today’s business climate. Organisations need leaders that can deliver clarity of vision and motivate staff in these unpredictable conditions, and leadership skills need to be identified and nurtured.

“An accurate understanding of leadership capabilities is vital to the development of these skills, yet the majority of leaders have not been formally evaluated in their current organisations. For those that have been assessed, it is typically managed as part of their performance review. Behavioral forms are the most effective leadership assessment tools and methodologies, and key attributes for assessment should include:

  • The ability to manage complexity and change
  • Mental efficiency to grasp and apply new information quickly
  • Personal ambition to succeed
  • The ability to set a vision and inspire others to act

“By demonstrating strong people leadership and a collaborative approach, leaders allow staff to understand why decisions are being made, which prevents negative perceptions around poor decision-making or lack of direction, and can galvanise a workforce towards reaching business goals.

With organisations maintaining cautious hiring intentions in today’s difficult conditions, effective leadership can play a pivotal role in achieving business success.”

1 Hudson surveyed 2,935 Australian employers about their hiring intentions July to September 2013


Editor Note

Please contact us for more information, print-ready graphs or to arrange an interview.

The Hudson Report: Employment Trends 2013 has changed its reporting approach to achieve greater transparency and consistency across markets. This makes it simpler to compare results and geographical variations. From now on, Hudson will report on three findings: the percentage of employers intending to increase staffing levels, those intending to maintain them and those intending to decrease headcount. ‘Hiring expectations' refers to the proportion of employers intending to hire more employees during the forthcoming quarter. Hudson will no longer use the 'net effect' figure.

About Hudson

Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised recruitment, contracting solutions, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management, outplacement and eDiscovery. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. With more than 2,000 people in 20 countries, and relationships with millions of specialised professionals, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at

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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.