Emma Mellow/Amy O’Rourke
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Embargoed until 12:01am NZDT 11 October 2012
UPSWING IN PROJECTS BEHIND EMPLOYEES WORKING HARDER AND LONGER, ACCORDING TO LATEST HUDSON REPORT
Hiring intentions remain steady as economy moves slowly forward
Auckland, New Zealand – 11 OCTOBER 2012 – Hiring intentions remain relatively steady as the economy inches forward, although New Zealanders are working longer and harder and the type of work being undertaken is changing, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends.
More than half of employers (59.1%) intend to keep staffing levels steady, while 31.3% intend to employ more people1, according to Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON), a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised permanent and contracting recruitment, RPO, talent management, eDiscovery and project solutions.
“Consumer confidence, a key driver for business and employment growth has inched higher. While confidence isn’t strong and shows some caution, it is moving in the right direction which is being reflected in hiring intentions,” said Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.
Positive hiring intentions in the South Island remain the highest in New Zealand (up 3.1pp). Many organisations in Canterbury are trying to maintain their business as usual activities whilst also increasing resource to supplement rebuild activities Companies are hiring more contractors in the areas of administration, finance and project management.
Industries with the most positive hiring intentions include Government, Education and Financial Services/Insurance. Meanwhile Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) exhibits the most positive hiring intentions among professions surveyed, with particularly high demand for project managers, business analysts and testers.
The report also looks at working hours, workloads and burnout in New Zealand organisations. More than 30% of employees are working more than 51 hours per week, with more than a quarter (26.2%) saying they are working longer hours than they were a year ago.
Furthermore, more than half state that their workload has increased during the past year, largely due to more projects (72.1%) and greater demand from customers (51.2%) and to a lesser extent decreased team sizes (21.5%).
“Many businesses are ‘flying while they build the plane’. Balancing business as usual and project commitments can be tricky – employees are exposed to great work and opportunities, but it also means they are working harder and longer. Many employees are prepared to do this. However there is often not much, if any, downtime between projects to recharge which can lead to burnout,” says Rogers.
“Often the qualities needed to be successful in a project-driven context are different compared to a business as usual environment. With projects, success depends on employees’ cognitive ability and behavioural traits. They need to pick up information and analyse quickly; manage tasks effectively; be masterful at prioritisation, particularly understanding what can wait; and be able to articulate actions and desired outcomes.”
“Employers must use techniques like personality and psychometric testing and benchmarking to assess candidates to ensure they have the right people on key projects as high performance in a business as usual environment does not automatically translate to success on projects.”
There is an increased risk of employee burnout if projects are not managed effectively, in fact, 29.6% of employers are experiencing increased employee burnout. Better clarity around role and delivery expectations is viewed as a key way to address this problem.
“Clarity around expectations is certainly needed, employers need to think about what they are trying to achieve and what blend of skills and behaviours they need to be successful,” added Rogers.
“In many instances, fewer people are doing a broader range of tasks and work is less specialised. Employees need to be agile, adaptable, resilient and open to change. Employers need to ensure that they are testing for these factors during the recruitment process rather than focusing on a candidate’s technical skills as these are not an effective indicator of high performance. Putting a person in a role when they don’t have the right motivational and behavioural attributes causes stress for both employer and employee,” said Rogers.
Increased projects may be influencing the demand for contractors with just under a quarter (23.3%) of employers intending to increase their contractor base. The emphasis in the contracting market is moving from hourly or day rates towards fixed term contracts which are believed to offer better financial value. While a fixed term contractor is generally a lower cost investment, the candidate market is not as developed and the resource is not as flexible or scalable.
“Every hire is an investment – if employers want to maximise their return then they need to invest in an effective, consistent recruitment process that goes beyond reviewing technical skills and reference checking. They need to be clear about what constitutes success in a role and which skills, competencies and behaviours are needed, and recruit on that basis if they want their business and teams to be successful.”
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Hudson has changed its reporting to achieve greater transparency and consistency across markets. This makes it simpler to compare results and geographical variations. From now on, Hudson will report on three findings: the percentage of employers intending to increase staffing levels, those intending to maintain them and those intending to decrease headcount. 'Positive hiring expectations' refers to the proportion of employers intending to hire more employees during the forthcoming quarter. Hudson will no longer use the 'net effect' figure.
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised recruitment, contracting solutions, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management, outplacement and eDiscovery. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. With more than 2,000 people in 20 countries, and relationships with millions of specialised professionals, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at Hudson.com.
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1 Hudson surveyed 1,090 New Zealand employers about their hiring intentions for October-December 2012 period in August 2012