Categories: Research & reports

Uncertainty Still Weighs on Employer Hiring Confidence Across the Globe in 2Q 2013

Global economic challenges and uncertainty will continue to contribute to subdued hiring during the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. ManpowerGroup’s research suggests that employers are seeking signs of a robust global economy before labor markets are likely to achieve sustainable traction.

This quarter’s research reveals:

  • Positive Hiring Plans in More Than Three Quarters of Labor Markets: Employers in 32 of the 42 countries and territories surveyed expect to add to their workforces in varying degrees in the second quarter, compared to 29 countries and territories in the first quarter. Hiring optimism strengthens quarter-over-quarter in 21 countries and territories but declines in 15.
  • Hiring Weaker Than One Year Ago: Employers in 25 countries and territories report weaker hiring forecasts compared to this time last year, with outlooks improving from 12 months ago in 15.
  • Brazil, Taiwan, Turkey and India Again Lead the Way, Weakest Outlooks in Europe: Employers in Brazil, Taiwan, Turkey, India and Panama report the strongest second-quarter hiring plans globally. Those in Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands report the weakest Net Employment Outlooks, with outlooks from Italy and Spain matching the weakest employer forecasts ever reported there.
  • Employers in Europe in Wait-and-See Mode: While the least optimistic second-quarter forecasts prevail across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, where employers in nine of 24 countries report negative outlooks, there is a clear improvement from three months ago when negative hiring plans were reported in 13 countries.
  • U.S. Employers Report Steady Hiring Pace: Hiring intentions in the U.S. remain relatively stable in both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year comparisons.

“Employers continue to be troubled by the current global economic environment, where the only certainty is uncertainty, meaning companies remain cautious when it comes to adding to their workforces,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. “Although the tea leaves are not providing any clear direction at this stage, there are positive signs from Europe which suggest some stabilization. There is unexpected and welcome news from France given the current environment — manufacturing employers indicate they will hire between 80,000 and 100,000 people this year and this momentum is projected to continue through 2020. This corresponds with our survey, with manufacturing sector employers reporting their strongest hiring intentions since 2008.

“Despite quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year declines in most industry sectors and regions in Germany, the hiring outlook remains positive and the labor market is relatively resilient in the face of those headwinds. However, employers are less willing to ignore developments elsewhere in the eurozone, Even in Greece — where the labor market has been persistently weak — the hiring forecast is the most optimistic in three years and hiring plans improve considerably from last year at this time in the majority of industry sectors surveyed.”

In the Americas, employers in all 10 countries surveyed report positive hiring intentions for the coming quarter, with hiring plans strengthening in four but declining in five in a quarter-over-quarter comparison. When compared year-over-year, Net Employment Outlooks improve in four countries and decline in six. The strongest regional outlook is in Brazil, while the weakest are reported in Costa Rica and the U.S.

“There is a familiar story in the U.S and that is of employers taking a measured and positive approach to hiring. Companies remain cautious about making any drastic adjustments to their hiring plans, but the small steps forward indicate a continued trend of improved confidence,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup President. “Brazil’s hiring prospects are considerably improved from the first three months of the year, and the economic growth there goes hand-in-hand with a shortage of highly qualified professionals. The Brazilian government is addressing this by increasing the import of foreign talent to meet demand in a tight labor market where the challenge is further compounded by the ramping up of preparations for the next year’s soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.”

Employers in each of the eight Asia Pacific countries and territories surveyed report positive second-quarter hiring intentions. Net Employment Outlooks strengthen in four of the eight countries and territories quarter-over-quarter. Year-over-year, outlooks weaken in five of eight countries and territories. Regionally, the strongest outlook is in Taiwan. The weakest is reported by employers in Australia, where employer confidence has been eroding steadily for the past two years and the country’s Net Employment Outlook stands at its weakest level since the third quarter of 2009.

“Chinese employers predict an upbeat hiring pace as employer confidence seems to be rebounding in all sectors and regions when compared to last quarter,” said Darryl Green, ManpowerGroup President. “The country is encouraging and increasing both private and public investment to bolster the country’s economic development. For example, the Chinese government plans to invest 650 billion yuan in railway construction with 5,200km of additional rail scheduled to go into operation this year. Meanwhile, the data from India shows last quarter’s recovery from the sharp decline of the fourth quarter in 2012 is continuing. However, companies continue to struggle to close skills gaps, and the challenge is compounded by recent reports that more than 90 percent of recent engineering graduates are ill prepared to enter the workforce — either because of a lack of hard or soft skills.”

Source: Manpower Employment Outlook Survey