Strong end to 2010 spurs positive outlook for 2011

Job outlook 2011

The number of job vacancies increased 3.2 per cent nationwide in 2010, compared to 2009, according to the latest data from IPA Recruitment.

The growth in vacancies is a positive sign that "more people are doing more work" and that the dust may have finally settled post Global Financial Crisis, according to Tricia Phillips, CEO of IPA Recruitment.

"In 2010 we hit some peaks in confidence, but as fast as we became confident, we became cautious again. The employment market will still remain volatile in 2011 as we continue to witness a two speed economy," Phillips says.

"Until recently most candidates have stayed in their jobs as the market was unstable. As we have seen a reduction in the number of redundancies, candidates are beginning to gain more confidence. In 2011 we are expecting a higher influx of migrants so this could bring additional movement to the market."

Industries currently experiencing strong demand for candidates include food and transport and logistics.  We can also expect the roles that were first to be cut off the budget during the Global Financial Crisis will start to come back on the vacancy lists for employers and recruiters.

Quality of candidates will remain the biggest issue for employers in 2011.  Given the speed of technology and therefore the  number of ‘touch points’ an employer can use to find candidates, this can also present new challenges.  As employers drive up the volume of candidates that approach the organisation, they must deal with the counter-productive aspect that this can create a longer recruitment process to find the right quality. Businesses need to make the recruitment process smooth and stick to a clear timeline – candidates will often judge an employer by the recruitment process.

While 2010 was positive overall, job orders dropped 17.9 per cent in December – nothing out of character for this as manufacturing softens at this time and therefore presents a normal hold on hiring activity for most companies. In saying this IPA Recruitment is seeing strong number of permanent hires already in January which means employers have been pre-planning in December allowing newly-hired workers to hit the ground running in the New Year.

In predicting which sector will dominate in 2011, Phillips suggests mining and associated industries will continue to lead the way:

"Australia is a resources rich country and this will continue to be our strength this year and going forward," she says.

"This naturally means Western Australia will boom out of the employment markets and whilst Queensland is in the middle of devastating floods, after an expensive and protracted cleanup that may result in a slow start to 2011, the continuing appetite for resources will again drive employment growth in this market. Equally business associated with the mining and resources market will also continue to enjoy an upturn."

"This time of year people start to think about their career goals and begin looking for the bigger better role somewhere else. It is important that employers make retention a priority in January. Employers need to engage staff and look at training and development options for 2011."

"Equally, candidates need to have clear career goals and have a realistic salary expectation based on skills and experience."

Report supplied by IPA Recruitment


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