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More Australian employers are looking to raise their staff numbers, with a report by global talent solutions company Hudson revealing intentions to hire are at an 18-month high.

The statistics, published in Hudson Report: Employment Trends, revealed that the number of employers looking to take on more staff in the final quarter rose to 23.9 per cent. The 2.7 per cent rise makes it the highest quarterly increase in close to four years.

Dean Davidson, Executive General Manager, Hudson Australia, says that the optimistic outlook on hiring intentions ties in with the overall ‘employer sentiment’.

“Over recent weeks, we have seen improvements in a number of indicators of employment conditions and our research shows significantly more employers are looking to hire than to fire in the final three months of this year,” Davidson says.

Queensland saw the biggest increase in the number of employers looking to raise their headcount, with a 2.7 percentage point rise to 27.8 per cent. Western Australia rose to 24.7 per cent, Victoria rose to 25.3 per cent, while NSW’s numbers fell 0.6 percentage points to 21.9 per cent. The ACT continues to trail in terms of optimistic employment expectations, with 20 per cent of employers looking to lower their permanent staff numbers.

While the outlook to raise staff numbers is mostly optimistic, the report reveals that employers are struggling to find the right talent. 60 per cent of hiring managers believe there is a shortage of talent and 90 per cent cite the sourcing of talent as the most challenging aspect of the recruitment process.

The challenge in finding the right employees has created a ‘war for talent’, according to Davidson.

“Make no mistake, there is a war for talent, and a challenge in finding the right people for key positions,” Davidson says.

“To stay ahead of the competition, organisations need to establish a clear understanding of the skills and other attributes needed for their important positions, continually manage a talent pipeline and ensure that they are delivering a compelling employee value proposition.”