After years of soft employment growth, employers are becoming more willing to take on new staff, according to a nationwide survey of hiring intentions.
About 23 per cent of businesses across Australia plan to take on extra staff over the next three months, according to a quarterly survey of 2600 employers by recruitment business Hudson.
That was a 2.5 per cent increase compared to three months ago, which is the first quarter on quarter improvement in hiring intentions since mid-2010.
The survey showed 65 per cent of employers planned to retain current staff numbers, which was unchanged from the previous survey, while the number of those planning to decrease head count dropped 2.6 per cent to 11 per cent.
Hudson's Australian recruitment boss Dean Davidson said while employers were becoming more confident, many industries continued to face tough trading environments and businesses were focusing on finding the right talent.
"We are seeing cautious optimism amongst employers, which is reflected in the lift in employment expectations," he said.
"However, organisations in Australia are continuing to focus on business transformation and reskilling their workforces to operate most effectively in today's tougher economic environment and this is driving demand for talent."
Professional services remained the industry to be in for job seekers, with 38 per cent of employers planning to take on new staff, followed by IT where 36 per cent had positive hiring intentions.
The survey showed South Australian employers were the most likely to take on new staff - at 26 per cent, while Victorians were the least likely, with 22 per cent planning to increase head count.