Australian finance and real estate firms plan to hire more staff in early 2019

ScreenshotKenneth Hayne
  • Australian home prices are falling and the final report from Australia’s Financial Services Royal Commission is about to be received.
  • Despite those trends, a majority of finance, insurance and real estate firms plan to hire more staff in the March quarter, according to new research.
  • In the three months to November, employment in these sectors fell, according to official data from the ABS.

Given the backdrop of falling home prices and fallout from the Financial Services Royal Commission, many would expect that demand for Australian finance, insurance and real estate workers would be falling in early 2019.

However, somewhat remarkably, it’s not, according to a new survey from ManpowerGroup.

Based on responses received by the group, the net proportion of finance, insurance and real estate firms planning to hire additional staff in the March quarter still remains quite elevated at 15%, leaving it unchanged from the same period a year ago.

ManpowerGroup

“While the outlook is softer quarter-on-quarter it remains in positive territory and is further evidence that the Royal Commission into the Banking sector has failed to significantly effect hiring intentions while the decline in property prices across the country has also failed to dent the employment outlook across the sector,” the group said.

Many will undoubtedly regard that as a surprising result, particularly given recent trends in official jobs data released by the ABS.

In the three months to November 2018, the ABS reported that employment in the financial and insurance services industry fell by 1,000 workers. Similarly, employment in rental, hiring and real estate services also fell, declining by 9,500 over the same period.

Those results were very different to those in the December quarter Manpower survey where a net 21% of finance, insurance and real estate firms said that they intended to increase headcount, the highest proportion in years.

The differential between the two series could be explained by a variety of factors, including smaller firms hiring more staff while larger firms reduced headcounts along with volatility in the ABS data.

Regardless, given the recent divergence, caution about a potential hiring spree across Australia’s finance and real estate sectors this quarter is warranted.

The final report into the Royal Commission, including recommendations, must be delivered by February 1 at the latest.

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