South Africa’s labour-hiring pace is expected to slow in the final stretch to year-end, as global economic uncertainty, low business and consumer confidence and weary investors darken business's outlook, the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey has found.
“The ongoing trend of indecision with regards to the eurozone crisis and fluctuating degrees of confidence and doubt, as well as key negative events, such as the recent Lonmin mine debacle, that alarmed foreign investment, continues to cause businesses to be cautious in their hiring plans,” workforce solutions company Manpower Group South Africa MD Lyndy van den Barselaar stated.
Despite a cautiously optimistic third-quarter recovery, the 750 employers surveyed indicated that fourth-quarter recruitment would fall in nine of the ten industry sectors reviewed. This would be particularly evident in the electricity, gas and water supply sector and the restaurant and hotel industry, where the outlooks drop to their weakest levels, since the survey started in 2006, at 0% and -4%, respectively.
The manufacturing sector was expected to fall 12 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to a net employment outlook of -9%, followed by a seven-percentage-point quarter-on-quarter decline in both the construction sector, to -1%, and the wholesale and retail trade sector, to +5%.
The transport, storage and communication sector would experience a six-percentage-point quarter-on-quarter decline to -1%, while the agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector record a one-percentage-point quarter-on-quarter fall to +4%.
The mining and quarrying and the public and social sectors would both record a net employment outlook of +3% during the fourth quarter.
The survey noted that the most optimistic quarter-on-quarter hiring plans would occur in the Free State, with a two-percentage-point rise in the net employment outlook, reaching +6% during the fourth quarter. Gauteng would fall four percentage points to +3%, while KwaZulu-Natal would drop two percentage points to -6%.
The Eastern Cape and the Western Cape would record net employment outlooks of +1% and 0%, respectively for the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, year-on-year, the hotel and restaurant sector was expected to fall 10 percentage points, with the mining and quarrying sector and the transport, storage and communication sector each decreasing six percentage points. However, the construction sector would record a six-percentage-point improvement.