Employers play it safe with jobs in tough times – survey

Construction workers. Image: Moneyweb

Construction workers. Image: Moneyweb

Employers had soft hiring intentions for the last quarter of the year while 10% anticipate an increase in payrolls, 6% expect a decrease and 82% forecast no change.

The overall South African employment outlook for the fourth quarter of the year stands at +4% hiring prospects, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

The survey indicated that South African employers had soft hiring intentions for the last quarter of the year while 10% of employers anticipate an increase in payrolls, 6% expect a decrease and 82% forecast no change.

“As we move into the last quarter of 2019, South Africa’s economy continues to be weighed down by factors such as slow economic growth, policy uncertainty and a high unemployment rate,” said Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of ManpowerGroup SA.

“This can translate into businesses exercising caution around hiring and spending-related activity, which is reflected in 82% of responding companies expecting to make no change in their hiring strategies during the October to December timeframe.”

She said the Eastern Cape employers forecasted the strongest labour market, reporting a net employment outlook of +7%, while outlooks of +6% and +5% are reported in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, respectively.

In other provinces employers expect limited job gains, reporting outlooks of +3% in Western Cape and +2% in Gauteng.

“There are currently initiatives taking place in the Eastern Cape that are focused on the development of the region that are well-placed to create employment,” said Van den Barselaar.

“For example, the Coega Development Corporation, operator of the Coega Special Economic Zone in Nelson Mandela Bay, recently announced it had secured an additional 18 investors during the 2018-19 financial year. The funds are aimed at development in the region, looking at several projects, including an aquaculture development zone, a copper smelting plant, and a heavy engineering plant for the railway sector.”

“Initiatives such as these could be positive for job creation in the region, in both the short and long term,” said Van den Barselaar.

In comparison with the final quarter of 2018, hiring prospects had weakened in three of the five regions.

“Decreases of seven percentage points are reported in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, while the Western Cape Outlook declines by six percentage points. However, Eastern Cape employers report a considerable improvement of 14 percentage points and the Free State Outlook is six percentage points stronger,” she said.

The report predicted that opportunities for job seekers were expected to be strongest in the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sector and weakest within the transport, storage and communications sector.

gcinan@citizen.co.za

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