According to the most recent ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, South African employers report overall cautious hiring plans for the third quarter of 2019, with the trend set to continue.
There are also marked differences in hiring and payroll activity between five regions surveyed across the country, as well as across 10 sectors ranging from Finance to Forestry & Fishing.
Just 8% of employers anticipate an increase in payrolls, 6% forecast a decrease and 85% expect no change.
The resulting Net Employment Outlook is +2%. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the Outlook stands at +4%.
Compared to the previous quarter, hiring prospects have remained fairly stable. However, there has been a decline of 2 percentage points compared to this time one year ago.
Trend set to continue
"The trend of businesses remaining cautious around hiring activity continues into the third quarter of the year, with a large majority of respondents planning no changes to their hiring strategies and plans," says Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of ManpowerGroup SA.
"The recently reported increased unemployment rate and turbulent economic environment further cement this sentiment and will more than likely mean the trend is set to continue for the medium-term."
Employers in three of the five regions expect to add to payrolls during the next three months. The strongest hiring prospects are reported in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with Net Employment Outlooks standing at +7%, while Kwazulu Natal employers report an Outlook of +5%.
Meanwhile, Free State employers forecast flat hiring activity, reporting an Outlook of 0%, and the Outlook of -1% in Eastern Cape reflects uncertain hiring intentions.
Payroll gains are forecast for nine of the 10 industry sectors during the coming quarter. Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services sector employers report the strongest hiring intentions with a Net Employment Outlook of +11%, while Restaurants & Hotels sector employers report a cautiously optimistic Outlook of +10%.
Some hiring opportunities are forecast for two sectors with Outlooks of +7% in the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Public & Social sector, while Outlooks of +4% are reported in both the Mining & Quarrying sector and the Transport, Storage & Communications sector. However, Construction sector employers expect to trim payrolls, reporting an Outlook of -8%.