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Almost half of SMEs to increase headcount

23 June 2021 1 minute readShare

A “stronger than anticipated” recovery is prompting almost half of employers to increase their headcount, new research has found.

The FY21–22 Hays Salary Guide has found that out of 3,500 employers surveyed, 47 per cent of them plan to bolster their permanent staff levels in the next 12 months. 

The industry set to see the most increase in staff numbers is life sciences, with 61 per cent of employers intending to increase headcount. This is followed by employers in the legal sector (59 per cent), contact centres (58 per cent), technology (57 per cent), and the engineering and human resources sectors (56 per cent each).

Employers in the architecture, construction and insurance sectors also have strong hiring intensions (all 54 per cent), as do employers in the retail sector (52 per cent).

“Pleasingly, Australia’s economic recovery is stronger than anticipated,” said Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“Fiscal stimulus and control of the spread of COVID-19 has helped to create a jobs market recovery, with employers navigating their way out of the pandemic and reinvesting in headcount growth.”

That being said, Mr Deligiannis said acquiring top talent “with the right skills” is “not as easy as it first seems”.

“An old challenge has reared its head once more: skills shortages,” he said.

“With hiring activity increasing, the supply and demand imbalance has now tipped firmly in favour of skilled professionals.

“While employers have so far managed the shortage, they are reaching their turning point. In the next 12 months, almost two-thirds say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation or department.

“There’s also a small but notable number — 22 per cent — who do not believe they have the talent required to achieve their organisation’s strategic objectives.

“This skills imbalance is a substantial threat to those organisations that continue to invest in projects and headcount to return to, or cement, their growth.”

Almost half of SMEs to increase headcount
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