2011 employment outlook optimistic

Yearly forecast

By Cara Jenkin   

The state’s employment market is at its strongest for three years and further growth is tipped in the next 12 months, recruiters say.

A CareerOne survey of five recruitment firms in South Australia finds a resurgence in hiring already is under way and demand will increase throughout the year.

The employment recovery largely is being caused because many companies put a freeze on hiring new staff between 2008 and 2010 in the economic downturn.

Employers now want to increase staff numbers to drive business and snap up skilled workers, many of whom are leaving their previous workplaces unhappy at the way they were treated. Stillwell Select Recruitment corporate manager Nick Stillwell says a recruitment recovery started in the last six months of last year and has continued to be strong in the first few weeks of 2011.

"Traditionally, in years gone by, it dies off in November/December and picks up again a bit around February, but in 2010-11 it never died off,” Mr Stillwell says.

He says many candidates are contacting the firm asking for them to be kept in mind for any jobs that come up. The number of applications being received for each job also is increasing.

Many job applicants are receiving multiple job offers, showing that good, qualified workers are in high demand by employers.

Mr Stillwell says many workers stayed with their employer through the downturn as they wanted to be employed but were not treated well, causing many to look for a new employer at their first opportunity.

McArthur state manager Matthew Hobby says businesses not reliant on international trade or who do not directly sell products or services overseas are confident of a good 2011.

"The first week of January has been busy in commercial and government sectors,” he says.

Recruitment firm Hays believes the first quarter of 2011 will be active in Adelaide, with many employers creating new roles. They also need to hire staff to replace employees who have moved on.

This will create many temporary positions as employers work on hiring a permanent employee. Some temporary workers also may move to permanent roles. Regional director Lisa Morris says more workers are confident they can find a job to advance their career. "Despite this rise, the demand for certain specialist skills will not be met,” she says. "The shortage of these skills will remain a challenge for employers.”

Talent2 SA general manager Laura Mabikafola says uncertainty on rising interest rates may continue to affect many employers’ willingness and ability to hire staff. "We all thought 2010 would be the return of job numbers and job opportunities,” she says. "Realistically it will be in 2012 we have the same number of jobs we had in 2007.”

Manpower Australia managing director Lincoln Crawley says job hunters must develop a general skill set sought after by several employers to have most success.

"Companies are going to have to be flexible on job criteria and consider candidates who tick most, but not all, their boxes,” he says. "At the same time, candidates willing to relocate, reskill or change industries will have plenty of opportunities.”

Innovative Eye Care director and optometrist Lachlan Scott-Hoy, 25, owns a practice and helps train Flinders University students. "In my area of optometry, the health side of it, managing eye diseases and contact lenses, a huge number of jobs are available,” he says.

Strong start
More jobs available during November, December and January.
Increasing supply
Workers are actively looking for new jobs and more employers want to hire new staff.
Skills demanded
Employers may find it difficult to find the staff with the skills they need but staff will skills may expect multiple job offers.
Flexible work
Staff want flexible hours and employers may need to be flexible in set criteria.
A year of growth
Several industries are building to a bumper 2012.

Article from The Advertiser, January 22, 2011.

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