As unemployment figures lowered for a third consecutive month, survey results reveal that the upturn is in full swing for Australia’s privately held businesses and employee salaries are on the up.
· Over three-quarters (78%) of Australian business are planning to increase salaries in the next 12 months, compared to the global average of only 51%.
· Almost a quarter (23%) are planning to increase salaries above the level of inflation in 2010
Over 250 businesses across Australia were analysed by the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), a survey which investigates the employment strategies used by privately held business in the past 12 months, as well as their workforce plans for the year.
Tony Markwell, National Head of Privately Held Business at Grant Thornton Australia, remarked:
“We know that Australian SME’s are generally positive going into 2010, but these latest salary figures show how resilient we have in fact been. In particular, it is reassuring to see that a good proportion of respondents are planning to increase salaries above the level of inflation.”
The positive sentiment was further reinforced by the fact that almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents either increased or kept the number of employees the same over the past 12 months, placing them in a good position to retain staff in this new employment climate.
“During the GFC many Australian companies resorted to redundancies as a cost-cutting strategy. So now, with a more competitive labour market developing, these businesses are going to really struggle to find good talent.
“From our research, however, we have seen that this is will not be as big an issue for private enterprises; as they were rather perceptive in their tactics during the downturn. For example, instead of making immediate redundancies, they focused on redeployment and reductions in working hours as primary strategies” Markwell explained.
Unemployment figures of an 11-month low of 5.3 per cent, a third consecutive monthly drop in contrast to a peak of 5.8 per cent last year are believed to be contributing to this trend. With inflationary pressures leading to higher interest rates likely.