Employment growth is set to increase in almost half of Australian workplaces over the June 2023 quarter, according to the Australian HR Institute’s (AHRI’s) first Quarterly Australian Work Outlook report.

The quarterly report offers a forward view of the work environment facing business leaders. One of its key measures is AHRI’s Net Employment Intentions Index which is calculated by taking the percentage of employers intending to increase staffing levels and subtracting the percentage of employers intending to decrease staffing levels over the period.

This first survey records a Net Employment Intentions Index of +45 for the June quarter. However, close to half (47%) of employers currently recruiting are experiencing difficulties and 16% of employers are planning redundancies in the June 2023 quarter.

The report data also suggests that positive recruitment conditions are not putting strong upward pressure on wages with employers saying that the mean basic pay increase in their organisations (excluding bonuses) is expected to be 3.3% in the 12 months to April 2024.

Public sector employers’ pay expectations are higher (4.4%) than in the private sector (3.2%) and not-for-profit (+2.2%) sectors.

AHRI CEO, Sarah McCann-Bartlett believes the Australian jobs market remains tight but doesn’t seem to be driving real wage inflation.

“What remains to be seen is whether this anticipated growth in employment is largely due to filling a backlog of job vacancies or evidence of jobs growth that will continue to put pressure on recruitment difficulties and, possibly, wages,” she said.

“Despite the recent pattern of falling vacancies since the middle of last year, vacancies remain very high, which is reflected in the fact that almost half of employers that are hiring are still reporting difficulties with filling vacancies.

“Overall, the data offers mixed signals to employers and policymakers who will be concerned about possible inflationary pressures that strong employment intentions might cause. However, there is no sign yet of increasing pay inflation in the survey data.”