Most employers not planning on new hires

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A majority of New Zealand employers (57%) do not expect to increase staffing levels in the first six months of 2013 despite two thirds reporting that current business conditions are satisfactory. These are some of the findings of Michael Page’s New Zealand Employment Index Report for the first half of 2013. The online survey, which focuses on the white collar employment market, is distributed bi-annually to 2,000 senior HR professionals and hiring managers from various sectors.

The same survey revealed that a little more than one quarter (27%) of employers do intend to increase staff numbers and, of those, almost half (49%) anticipated a slight boost of 5% while another quarter (26%) expected to increase their headcount by 5-10%.

The operational business function: procurement, construction, engineering, or retail professionals, would expand the most according to a third of respondents. The second most significant hiring focus, which was identified by 26% of employers, will be support staff such as marketing and human resources.

Businesses also expect to hire most at the mid-level (63%). “[This is] an on-going trend for employers in New Zealand as staff at this level continue to be promoted to a senior position or seek overseas opportunities to gain global experience,” the report stated.

Two thirds of respondents reported that they expected staff turnover in the first six months of 2013 to equal that of the last six months of 2012. Not surprisingly then, almost the same percentage (63%) said that their focus on retention would remain constant. “Employers in New Zealand have typically had a moderate to major focus on staff retention over the last 12 months based on past Michael Page market research survey findings,” the report’s authors wrote.

The retention strategies employers are most likely to focus on include, ‘training and career development opportunities’ (40%), ‘initiatives to improve company culture’ (29%), and ‘performance based rewards’ (18%).

Interestingly, the Christchurch rebuild is not supposed to have any effect on business according to the report. However, as its authors suggested, the current labour market demand there is for blue collar workers, rather than white (which is the focus of this report). “The demand for white collar professionals is expected to occur when the city has been re-established as a central business district,” they wrote.

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