Staff hiring waiting for improved economy

Last updated 10:18 27/07/2012

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Most employers plan to keep their staffing levels steady until the economy picks up more, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends.

Of the 1,350 New Zealand employers surveyed, 30 per cent said they intend increasing their full-time staffers during the next quarter, much the same level as the previous quarter.

But the others, while optimistic about the economy, want to see it lift more before they boost their numbers.

Hiring intentions remain higher in the South Island with just over half of employers intending to take on new staff this quarter, although that is down 6.2 per cent on the previous quarter.

The report said this reflected more clarity around the skills required for key projects and the pace of change in earthquake-hit Canterbury. Employers are clearer about the resources they need, rather than just needing more people.

ICT remains the profession seeking the most staff and small to medium-sized businesses are most positive about hiring expectations with more than a third planning to do so in the next quarter.

A quarter of employers now have more stringent assessment in place to secure the right candidate.

This includes having more senior involvement in the selection process and a higher number of interviews with preferred candidates.

And a third are experiencing slower decision-making around new hires.

Hiring freezes across the company and for non-core roles were in place for a quarter of respondents.

''Justifying the return on investment of a new employee is vital. Employers have a firm focus on driving productivity and high performance and there is certainly more pressure to get hires right,'' said Hudson New Zealand executive general manager Roman Rogers.

Some 56.5 per cent of employers say they're looking for different skills from candidates in the current economic environment.

Openness to change is seen as a key skill by most, followed by resilience to stress and not being deterred by setbacks.

But 62 per cent of employers overall still focus on technical skills with only a third spending time on behavioural attributes and only 6 per cent measuring motivational fit.

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