The comments by Robert Half director Andrew Morris, come on the back of an independent survey on business confidence commissioned by the recruitment firm which showed that 7 in 10 Australian business leaders are very confident of business growth in 2020.
“C-suite sentiment is positive, driven largely by public infrastructure investment, the recovery of the mining sector, as well as ongoing digitisation efforts and robust trade relations,” says Morris.
“Our research shows that companies are capitalising on the opportunities this presents by investing in their permanent headcount to support their forward growth strategies, from expanded business operations to the implementation of new initiatives or investments.
“Rapid advances in technology are changing the way companies do business and in order to remain competitive in a global market, leaders should continue to employ a flexible staffing strategy that combines permanent and contract employees in order to gain access to niche, low supply skills while upskilling the existing workforce at the same time.”
The survey found that:
- 69% of Australia business leaders are very confident in their company's growth prospects in the first half of 2020, 13% above international average.
- 46% plan to add new permanent positions to their team, 8% above the international average of 38%.
According to Robert Half, the survey indicates a buoyant business environment going into 2020, with almost seven in 10 (69%) of the 501 Australian business leaders surveyed citing very high levels of confidence - 13% above the international average of 56%.
And amongst the 13 countries surveyed, this level of confidence is exceeded only by Brazil (78%) and is on par with the United Arab Emirates (69%).
In addition, only 3% of Australia leaders indicate they have no confidence in their business prospects for the year ahead.
When looking at the top three reasons influencing their level of confidence, expanding business opportunities (56% vs. 49% international average), the current economic climate (57% v. 54% international average), and attracting suitable talent (50% vs. 48% international average) are shared as the top considerations for many executives in Australia and across the globe.
According to Robert Half the majority of companies, ranging from large to small and across states, are planning to invest in their permanent headcount in the coming year.
And when asked about their permanent hiring plans, 46% of Australian leaders say they will expand their headcount by adding new permanent positions - 8% above the international average of 38% - while another 37% plan to maintain their staff levels and only focus on filling vacated positions.
Following what Robert Half says was a four-year surge in the number of contingent roles created in the Australian professional sector, Australian companies are now prioritising filling vacant temporary roles rather than expanding their headcount.
And 4 in 10 (40%) Australian companies plan to maintain their current temporary staff headcount, 8% higher than the international average of 32%.
When asked for the top three reasons behind their employment plans, business leaders point to an increased workload as the key driver behind their hiring decisions (58% permanent / 46% temporary), followed by the current economic and business climate (51% permanent / 42% temporary) and employee turnover (51% permanent / 38% temporary).