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Survey finds widespread optimism among NZ firms about hiring


Wednesday 27th November 2002

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Employers are feeling significantly better about hiring staff, according to a major recruitment survey.

TMP Worldwide's six-monthly job index survey shows employment optimistic rose a dramatic 5.1 percentage points over the last six months and 12 percentage points on the same period last year.

The agency said it was the highest level since the job index went on to a six-monthly cycle in January 1999.

Of 1000 employers, 42.2 percent said they were expecting to increase staff over the next half year, compared to 7.2 percent who were anticipating cutting staff.

TMP Worldwide's New Zealand general manager, Denis Horner, said South Island employers were the most optimistic.

"Of the South Island employers surveyed, 52.4 percent have indicated that they are anticipating an increase in staff numbers over the next six months and 10.3 percent said they are expecting to decrease."

Employers surveyed from the Lower North Island closely shadowed the national figures and 39.9 percent of upper North Island employers expected to hire more staff, while 6.1 percent expected staff reductions.

Small business employers were the most optimistic but there was a positive air across the board.

But employers' ability to attract and hold onto staff were two major issues of concern. Recruiting and retaining skilled workers were the most pressing concerns for 26.5 percent and 18.1 percent of bosses respectively.

Other issues of concern included potential domestic uncertainty (12.6 percent), the need to cut costs (9.6 percent) and global risks (9.5 percent).

All industries surveyed were in the pink, with "hot" industries being information technology, professional services and legal.

Legal, which recorded a dramatic drop in optimism in the last survey (down 23.6 percent) was up 20.7 percent, but it was also the sector most likely to have a recruitment issue (34.9 percent of employers).

Nearly 35 percent of electronics firms were also likely to have recruitment problems, and 30 percent of media bosses were likely to report a retention problem.

The least optimistic industries were the media and financial services/insurance industries.

Meanwhile, the survey showed 76 percent of New Zealand employers indicated they were satisfied with their pay packages.

It also found only 9.2 percent of bosses had sought higher remuneration in the last six months.

Some 5.8 percent of respondents said they were considering reviewing their income and 8.8 percent were actively doing so.

Wholesale or distribution employers were the most likely to be satisfied (87.5 percent), with engineering bosses (33.3 percent) the most proactive.

Bosses in the upper North Island were more likely to be satisfied with their lot than those in the South Island, the survey said.

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