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The Jobs Market in 2014

The Jobs Market in 2014

PROFESSIONAL services, IT, finance, construction and mining will be the big movers in the 2014 jobs market. Analysis from Hudson Recruitment on the hiring intentions of Australian businesses for the second quarter of 2014 has revealed a hotbed of permanent job hiring activity in white collar, transport and mining occupations.

 Overall, 23.3 per cent of Australia businesses are looking to increase their workforce in the coming quarter, while 64.5 per cent plan to keep staff levels stable. Human resources has also emerged as a strong performer in the contract hiring market, with more than one in five HR employers looking to bring on more staff. 

Hudson Recruitment Australia executive general manager Dean Davidson says an increase in human resources hiring is a good sign for Australian jobseekers in all industries. "Hudson is encouraged to see the lift in hiring intentions for human resources," he says. "Investment in HR happens when organisations are looking to get more active with their talent and is a good lead indicator of positive intent."

 "In all, sentiment is still cautious in the Australian labour market as a whole, which these findings and economic data support. As always, developing a workforce with the right capabilities, skills, behavioural and motivational fit is key for organisations looking to equip themselves for success in today's tougher operational environment."

 The importance of IT in business is becoming increasingly obvious, with IT workers being the most in demand by those looking to hire contract staff. In the permanent jobs market, 33.5 per cent of IT employers are looking to increase staffing levels in the second quarter of 2014, which is more than 10 per cent higher than the Australian average.

 According to Hudson, NSW has seen a 5 per cent increase in intention to hire, which is the strongest employment outlook of all states and its highest level since the third quarter of 2012. "The improvement in NSW's employment outlook is being driven by hiring expectations in the professional services, IT and financial services industries," Davidson says.

 "With NSW's strengthening economic growth we're seeing a sizeable employment increase in professional service businesses, while organisations continue to drive and leverage operational efficiencies via IT infrastructure enhancements and IT outsourcing." 

Sydney's strength – the accounting, private wealth, insurance and banking sectors - has returned, according to finance recruitment agency Marks Sattin. 

Director Ieuan Williams says the company's 2014 hiring intentions report reveals a broad upturn in intended hiring within the finance sectors for the Sydney market for the coming year. "Twenty-four per cent of those who responded suggested they are going to increase headcount and 61 per cent said they will be replacing any leavers," Williams says.

"This compares with 58 per cent in 2013 who were contemplating reductions and not replacing leavers. The overall summary of our survey has been a positive one for candidates and recruiters alike. The market in general has seen a steady increase in activity over the last two quarters."

Williams says within the public sector has seen the biggest slowdown in recruitment activity, particularly from a permanent perspective. "This is to be expected, based on the change in government and the cutbacks in this industry," he says. 

"Big employers in the first quarter of 2014 have been the large domestic banks and international financial institutions. A large proportion of this is down to the re-onshoring of previously offshored roles in the more complex back office and skilled shared service centre roles."

Recruitment company Hays NSW director Jane McNeill says improving business confidence in NSW has rubbed off on candidates, who are more willing to look for that next step in their career than what they were 12 months ago. 

McNeill cites the upswing in hiring activity of office support professionals as a healthy indicator that bosses in NSW are willing to take on staff who are not directly linked to making revenue. For the most obvious sign NSW is back on top again, however, people only have to look up and see all the cranes in the air. 

"Residential and commercial property, architecture and construction have all picked up significantly," McNeill says. "Alongside the significant increase in residential construction, there is also large infrastructure and commercial projects such as Barangaroo. Trades and those working as labourers have been very busy of late."

The Master Builders Association of NSW agrees, saying confidence in the state's property and construction market is underpinned by the more important indicator, which is shown by the upswing in finance for construction and purchase of new dwellings.

"This is particularly evident in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia with Victoria holding largely steady at a strong level," Master Builders Australia chief economist Peter Jones says. The number of commitments for new dwellings fell back in December 2013 but the overall trend remains positive.

"The Master Builders latest economic Survey of Building and Construction shows the industry remains confident that future building activity will strengthen in 2014."