Just one-quarter (27.6 per cent) of the 225 businesses that responded to the latest My Business website poll said that they would be looking to expand their workforce this year.
Most employers (43.1 per cent) said that staff numbers would remain stable over the next 12 months, while 8 per cent admitted to being unsure what lies ahead.
The most staggering result, however, was that one in five employers (21.3 per cent) actually plan to reduce the size of their workforce.
The poll did not ask respondents to specify which industry they operate within.
Of course, there is generally wide discrepancies between different industries, and 2019 is unlikely to be any different.
Despite this, The Workforce Institute at Kronos — the research and education division of the global workforce management software provider — has warned that employers around the world will face a tightening labour market as “the exodus of Baby Boomers reache[es] critical mass”.
“With unemployment low and the exodus of Baby Boomers reaching critical mass, employers globally will face a historically tight labour market. Sourcing great candidates has never been more difficult, and retention will become an all-out dogfight,” it said among its workforce predictions for 2019.
“While an employer’s brand, innovative hiring technologies and proactive recruiting practices are more important than ever, it’s organisations with the best people managers that will ultimately prevail.
“Organisations will place an increased focus on leadership development as a retention strategy — especially as Millennials flock to middle management — and measuring manager effectiveness will be HR’s top challenge in 2019.”
The software company also claimed that employment laws globally are likely to “fracture” further, putting “increased strain on organisations to avoid sanctions, fines, crippling class action lawsuits and reputation-damaging stories”.
Both of these, it claimed, will make technology, and in particular AI and machine learning, more relevant for HR professionals, employers and people managers in navigating this complex environment.
It follows a My Business reader hitting out at the plethora of regulations and red tape that are disincentivising Australian employers from creating new jobs and taking on more staff, claiming that “when learning how to navigate the system, you are on your own”.