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Hiring intentions lift for Canterbury rebuild

Wednesday 29th June 2011

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Rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Christchurch is seen as a key factor in a rise in hiring intentions for the July to September quarter.

The latest Hudson survey of employment expectations found a net 22 percent of employers planning to increase their permanent staffing levels during the next quarter, up 2 percentage points from the previous quarter.

A net 42.8 percent of employers in the South Island were planning to increase their levels of permanent staff, up 20.4 percentage points compared to before the first earthquake last September.

The building and construction industry was at record high levels of sentiment in the South Island, with a net 83.3 percent of employers planning on hiring more permanent staff during the upcoming quarter.

Supporting industries such as manufacturing, information technology and utilities were also strong -- not only in Canterbury, but also nationwide, as many resources were diverted south, Hudson said.

Nationally, more than a third of industries reported above average sentiment, while about half of industries reported increases in sentiment compared to the previous quarter, including construction/building/engineering, information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing and utilities.

Employers in the financial services/insurance, professional services and wholesale/distribution industries were anticipating stable headcounts.

In the upper North Island permanent hiring intentions were up 2.3 percentage points to 23.2 percent, but were down 5.1 percentage points to 12.8 percent in the lower North largely driven by lower hiring intentions among government employers, and the flow on effects that had on related businesses supporting the public sector.

The education, government healthcare, and retail industries reported decreasing hiring intentions for the July to September quarter, while employers in the professional services and wholesale/distribution industries reported no change, Hudson said.

Six out of 10 contracting and temporary employers were planning to hold staffing levels, and a net 12.4 percent were planning to increase their teams.

That was slightly down compared to last year, driven by big falls in the wholesale/distribution and financial services/insurance industry. Many companies involved in rebuilding Canterbury were choosing to employ permanent staff in roles they would have formerly used contractors for, because of the long term nature of the work.

Hudson New Zealand executive general manager Marc Burrage said the overall trend line of employer sentiment was steadily tracking up from its lowest point in the April to June 2009 quarter.

"There are so many influencing factors -- the rebuild in Canterbury, as well as the uncertainty cast by ongoing geological activity, the impending Rugby World Cup and national general election, the record high New Zealand dollar and improving business confidence," Burrage said.


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