South African employers report modest hiring intentions for the fourth quarter of the year, with 10% of employers expecting to increase staffing levels, 5% forecasting a decrease and 84% anticipating no change, says workforce solutions multinational ManpowerGroup South Africa MD Lyndy van den Barselaar.
Hiring prospects remain relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, but are 4% lower when compared to the final quarter of 2016. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the hiring outlook is set to increase by 5% during the final quarter of this year.
Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the restaurants and hotels and the transport, storage and communication sectors; and weakest within the mining and quarrying sector.
Employers in five regions of South Africa expect to increase staffing levels during the next three months. The strongest labour market is anticipated in the Western Cape, where employers report a net employment outlook of a 7% increase. Modest payroll gains are expected in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, with outlooks of a 5% increase, while the outlook for Free State stands at a 4% increase.
Meanwhile, Eastern Cape employers report the most cautious outlook of a 1% increase.
“Although the Western Cape shows the strongest net employment outlook, owing to the expected influx of tourists from December to February, there is a notable year-on-year decrease of 11% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2016.
“This decrease can be attributed to the decrease of 9% within the agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector as a result of the current drought in the region, as well as the 13% decrease in the wholesale and retail trade sector,” says Van den Barselaar.
Employers in eight industry sectors expect to grow staffing levels during the next three months. The strongest labour markets are anticipated in the restaurants and hotels and the transport, storage and communication sectors with net employment outlooks of an 11% increase.
Further, electricity, gas and water supply sector employers report cautiously optimistic hiring intentions with an outlook of a 10% increase. Some payroll gains are expected in the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sector, with an outlook of an 8% increase, and the manufacturing sector, where employers report an outlook of a 7% increase.
However, employment levels are forecast to decline in the mining and quarrying sector. Employers report an outlook of a 4% decrease.
Transport, storage and communication sector employers report a noteworthy improvement of 8% compared with the prior quarter, while the outlook for the restaurants and hotels sector is 7% stronger.
Meanwhile, hiring prospects weakened in three sectors, including the mining and quarrying sector, where employers report a decrease of 3% compared with the previous quarter.
However, a considerable decrease of 13% is reported in the wholesale and retail trade sector compared with the same period in 2016, while agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector employers report a decline of 9%.
Hiring plans are 6% weaker in four sectors: the electricity, gas and water supply sector; the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sector; the mining and quarrying sector; and the public and social sector. However, employers in three sectors report improved hiring plans, including the restaurants and hotels sector with an increase of 7%.
Meanwhile, large employers report healthy hiring prospects with a net employment outlook of a 24% increase, while the outlook for medium employers stands at a 6% increase. Conversely, small employers anticipate limited job gains with an outlook of a 1% increase, while microenterprise employers report uncertain hiring plans with an outlook of a 1% decrease.
“When compared with the previous quarter, hiring intentions improve by 4% in the large and medium-size employer categories, while the outlook for small employers remains relatively stable. However, microenterprise employers report a moderate decline of 6% compared with the previous quarter.”
Hiring prospects are 6% weaker for micro- and small-size employers when compared with 2016. Medium-sized employers also report a slight decline of 2%, while the outlook for large employers is unchanged.