Manpower releases survey results

Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the construction, the finance, insurance, real estate and business services, and the transport, storage and communication sectors; and weakest within the mining and quarrying sector.
Provincially, employers in the Western Cape report the strongest hiring intentions for the first quarter of the New Year, while employers within the Eastern Cape report the weakest hiring intentions.

South African employers report hopeful hiring plans for the January-March time frame, with opportunities for job seekers expected to be stronger than in both the prior quarter and last year at this time. Of the 750 South African employers who participated in the survey, 19% expect to increase staffing levels, 6% anticipate a decrease and 73% forecast no change. Once seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook stands at +10%. Hiring prospects improve by 4 percentage points quarter-over-quarter and are 6 percentage points stronger year-over-year.

Lyndy van den Barselaar, MS of Manpower SA, provides insights into why the South African employment market is expected to provide some opportunities for job seekers in Q1 2015, “As the world continues it’s slow recovery from the recession, renewed investment into emerging markets, such as Africa, is expected to grow. This is expected to facilitate growth in these markets, ultimately leading to continuing growth in the South African labour markets,” says van den Barselaar.

Regional Comparisons

Employers in all five regions expect to increase payrolls during 1Q 2015. The strongest hiring pace is forecast for Western Cape, where the Net Employment Outlook stands at +16%. Kwazulu-Natal employers report cautiously optimistic hiring intentions with an Outlook of +10%, while Outlooks of +9% are reported in both Free State and Gauteng. Some hiring opportunities are also expected in Eastern Cape where the Outlook is +7%.

“The Provincial Government of the Western Cape continues to promote employment growth in the province through several initiatives and projects. The province’s economy is dominated by the City of Cape Town, which is not only one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations but also an increasingly popular choice for foreign investment. The growth of the province’s labour market initiatives and tourism industry is expected to facilitate further job creation going into the New Year,” says van den Barselaar.

Hiring prospects improve in all five regions quarter-over-quarter. The most noteworthy Outlook increases of 6 percentage points are reported in three regions – Eastern Cape, Free State and Kwazulu-Natal.

Employers also report stronger hiring plans in all five regions when compared with 1Q 2014. A considerable improvement of 11 percentage points is reported in Free State, while Outlooks are 9 and 7 percentage points stronger in Kwazulu-Natal and Western Cape, respectively.

Industry Forecasts

Employers in all 10 industry sectors expect to grow staffing levels during 1Q 2015. The strongest hiring plans are evident in three sectors where employers report Net Employment Outlooks of +13% − the Construction sector, the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector and the Transport, Storage & Communication sector. Elsewhere, steady hiring activity is forecast by Electricity, Gas & Water Supply sector employers who report an Outlook of +11%, while the Outlook for the Restaurants & Hotels sector stands at +10%.

The weakest, yet still positive, hiring intentions are reported in the Mining & Quarrying sector with an outlook of +4%, the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector with an Outlook of +6% and the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector with an Outlook of +7%.

“The expected growth in the Construction and the Transport, Storage & Communications sectors is owing to a strong push from the National Government for the completion of major energy, transport and logistics projects over the medium term and create employment opportunities around the completion of the projects and the running and maintenance of the projects once they are completed,” explains van den Barselaar.

“Meanwhile, as businesses and organisations are looking to spend money and allocate budgets more wisely, they are looking to the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector for assistance and advice in this regard. The same goes for the average consumer, who is also realising more and more the importance of investing money for the future and looking to this sector to facilitate this,” she explains.

Quarter-over-quarter, employers in eight of the 10 industry sectors report improved hiring prospects. The most noteworthy increases of 8 percentage points are reported in the Construction sector and the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector, while employers in two sectors report Outlook improvements of 4 percentage points − the Public & Social sector and the Restaurants & Hotels sector. Meanwhile, hiring plans weaken in two sectors, including the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector where employers report a decline of 7 percentage points.

When compared with 1Q 2014, employers in seven of the 10 industry sectors report stronger Outlooks. The most notable increases of 15 and 11 percentage points are reported in the Construction sector and the Public & Social sector, respectively. Elsewhere, hiring prospects improve by 8 percentage points in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector and by 7 percentage points in the Transport, Storage & Communication sector. However, Outlook declines are reported in three sectors including the Mining & Quarrying sector where employers report a decrease of 8 percentage points.

Organisation-Size Comparisons

Participating employers are categorized into one of four organisation sizes: Micro businesses have less than 10 employees; Small businesses have 10-49 employees; Medium businesses have 50-249 employees; and Large businesses have 250 or more employees.

Employers expect to grow staffing levels in all four organization-size categories during the January-March period. Healthy payroll gains are forecast by Large employers who report a Net Employment Outlook of +25%. The Outlook for Medium-size businesses stands at +14%, while some job gains are anticipated in both the Small- and Micro-size categories, where Outlooks are +6%.

When compared with the previous quarter, hiring intentions improve in three of the four categories, most notably by 10 percentage points for Large employers and by 9 percentage points for Medium employers. The Outlook for Micro employers is 6 percentage points stronger, but Small employers report no quarter-over-quarter change.

Year-over-year, hiring prospects also improve in three of the four organization-size categories. The most noteworthy increases of 14 and 12 percentage points are reported by Large and Micro employers, respectively. However, the Small-size employer Outlook is unchanged.

“South Africa’s Net Employment Outlook of +10% reflects cautiously optimistic hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2015. It is imperative that provincial government continues to work with the private sector to face socio-economic challenges and support employment, through factors such as skills training and support for small-, medium- and macro-enterprises, in order to create jobs. The issue of youth unemployment should also come into keen focus in the first quarter of 2015, as thousands of students complete their tertiary education and look to enter the work place. It is important that opportunities are created for the training and up-skilling of these youth, in order to facilitate for a comfortable and successful integration into the workplace for the youth and their prospective employers,” concludes Van den Barselaar.

Across the globe, employers in 38 of the 42 countries and territories report positive first-quarter hiring plans. Outlooks are generally stronger when compared to the Quarter 4 2014 and Quarter 1 2014 surveys; forecasts improve in 22 countries and decline in only 12 quarter-over-quarter, and improve in 24 countries while declining in 13 year-over-year. Hiring confidence for the January-March time frame is once again strongest in India, Taiwan and New Zealand. The weakest, and only negative, forecasts are reported by employers in Finland, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 10 March 2015 to report hiring expectations for the second quarter of 2015. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public through local Manpower representatives in participating countries. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, please complete an online subscription form at

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