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Employer confidence highest since 2008

Australian employer confidence has increased to its highest levels since July 2008, with employer hiring intentions for the next quarter up 3.4 percent.

Employer ConfidenceEmployers intending on increasing their headcounts in the next quarter have increased to 34.9 percent in the Hudson Report: Employment Expectations survey. Despite Employment intentions being a lagging indicator to economic activity, the increased employer confidence to take on new staff with renewed vigor suggests that Australia is well on its way to being out of the Global Financial Crisis, despite business confidence figures out yesterday that suggest the opposite.

The results of the Hudson Report: Employment Expectations Australia-wide survey of 4,211 employers show that confidence is accelerating with a net 34.9 per cent indicating an intention to increase their permanent headcount during the July – September 2010 period.

Mark Steyn, CEO Hudson Australia/New Zealand says the growth in confidence is Australia has brought Australia back to the long term trend. Employers shifting their intention from holding their headcounts steady to hiring again, with those intending to hold their headcount steady decreasing from 58.0 per cent to 53.7 per cent, but hiring intentions up 3.4 percentage points.

“This result marks a solid 3.4 percentage point (pp) increase on last quarter’s figures and underlines an increasing confidence in Australia, as economic growth heads back toward trend,” said

“Employers are clearly moving fast to strengthen their workforces and position themselves well for growth and increasing competition.

“Our economy is expanding at a solid pace, the outlook remains upbeat and we expect the labour market to tighten considerably over the next two to three years, as existing capacity is again fully utilised and demand for labour increases. This will see the return of skills shortages and upwards pressure on wage inflation.”

The vast majority of industries surveyed for the July – September 2010 quarter have recorded an increase in sentiment over last quarter, and a large number of industries, in particular finance, are now reporting their highest level of confidence since early 2008.

“As employment is a traditional lag indicator, this would lend weight to the argument that Australia has truly emerged from the economic downturn,” said Steyn. “There is no doubt that we are beginning to see a return to the severe skills shortages of 2007 in many areas.”