South African employers report upbeat signs for job seekers in the third quarter of 2012. With 11% of employers forecasting an increase in staffing levels, 7% anticipating a decrease and 81% expecting no change, the resulting Net Employment Outlook stands at +4%. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the outlook stands at an encouraging +6%.
This means that the number of employers planning to take on more staff exceeds the percentage who plan to reduce staffing levels. Employers report a moderate increase in quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year improvements of 8 and 5 percentage points, respectively. The third quarter outlook is up from -2% in the second quarter of 2012 - the weakest forecast since the survey began in 2006 - and from -1% in quarter one of 2012.
"There's no doubt that the on-going concerns and uncertainty in Europe continue to weigh on the minds of employers in the global labour market. However, though Eurozone woes continue to dog sentiment, investment into developing countries and the African continent have seen growth outstripping richer nations in some sectors, leading to increased positivity. Furthermore, positive financial indications such as the report by the credit agency Moody's Investor Services, indicating that the exposure that sub-Saharan banks have to the euro area crisis is limited, contributes to an encouraging outlook for quarter three of 2012," says Lyndy Van Den Barselaar, managing director of Manpower Group South Africa.Four regions expect staff increases
On a provincial scale, employers in four of five regions expect to increase staffing levels in quarter three of 2012. The most optimistic forecast is in Eastern Cape, where the Net Employment Outlook stands at cautiously optimistic +8%. Elsewhere, outlooks of +7% are reported in both Gauteng and Western Cape, 4% for the Free State, while employers in KwaZulu-Natal report a disappointing outlook of -4%.
Quarter-over-quarter, hiring prospects strengthen in all five regions. Employers in both Gauteng and Eastern Cape report outlook improvements of +8% and the Western Cape outlook improves by 4 percentage points.
When compared with quarter three of 2011, hiring prospects strengthen in three of the five regions. The outlook for the Eastern Cape improves by a considerable margin of 10 percentage points, and a 5 percentage point increase is reported in Western Cape. Meanwhile, weaker hiring plans are evident in two regions, including KwaZulu-Natal, where the outlook declines by 4 percentage points. The Outlook decreases by 1 percentage point year-over-year.Prospects for wholesale and retail are good
Employers in nine of the ten industry sectors forecast an increase in staffing levels during quarter three of 2012. The strongest hiring prospects are reported in the wholesale and retail trade sector, with the outlook standing at +12%. Elsewhere, mining and quarrying sector employers report a cautiously optimistic outlook of +8%, and the outlook for the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sector stands at +7%. In the transport, storage and communication sector and the construction sector, employers report encouraging signs with outlooks of +6%.
"Growth is in recovery, but it is slow because of the weaker global demand, but should gain momentum through 2012. This will increase trade and create new positions. Additionally, talks of protecting certain South African industries from cheaper foreign imports is also fostering a healthy environment for growth and job creation in these industries. Membership in the BRICS group is also continuing to contribute to a positive outlook for the country as other BRICS members show on-going robust growth. Overall though, the figures look encouraging after the poor performance of the first two quarters of 2012, and may indicate a positive employment trend for the rest of the year," explains Van Den Barselaar.