The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today indicates the employment prospects for job seekers in the wholesale and retail trade sector has continued to decline as business leaders intend to hire less new employees.

The survey of 2779 employers across Australia revealed that the majority of employers in this sector intend to hold onto their headcount for the next quarter. The levels of demand are at its lowest since the survey began in 2003.
The wholesale and retail sector’s employment market shows a continued decrease in hiring intention in the April – June quarter of 2009, with a net employment outlook of minus five per cent, a decline of 11 percentage points quarter-over-quarter and 26 percentage points year-over-year.

“The continuation of the current economic challenges is reflected in a downward trend in hiring intentions since the second quarter of 2008. However, the majority of employers will make no reductions to their current headcount, supporting our prediction of a ‘wait and see’ approach from last quarter,” said Lincoln Crawley, managing director, Manpower Australia and New Zealand.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey also revealed there has been a widespread decrease in hiring intentions in all states, except the Northern Territory where employers are predicting a steady level of growth in the coming quarter with a net employment outlook of +14 per cent. In fact, four of the seven industry sectors in the Northern Territory expect to increase staffing levels during the next quarter. The finance, insurance and real estate employers are leading the way with a reported net employment outlook of plus nine per cent.
“The net employment outlook is the weakest it has been since the survey began in the third quarter of 2003 in Australia. However, an increasing number of employers are holding steady with their current headcount as they attempt to ride out the global economic downturn.

There seems to be an increased awareness that even though times are tough, employers should not act hastily but rather balance short and long-term by preparing themselves for when the economy recovers. To achieve this they need to have retained talent or, through a flexible workforce approach, have access to the right skills at the right time,” said Crawley.