Majority of Australian HR managers plan to maintain current staff levels over next six months

15 June 2016

According to the latest independent survey by specialist recruiter Robert Half almost a quarter (23%) of Australian HR managers plan to create extra jobs for administrative and office support employees in the second half of this year, with New South Wales and Victoria far ahead Queensland and West Australia.

The majority (67%) of Australian HR managers say they plan to maintain current staff levels, only filling vacated positions. Just 6% plan to freeze their current permanent headcount, while only 4% plan redundancies.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Within every economic climate, it is essential for companies to be able to fall back on administrative top talent, given that they usually form the backbone within the company and constitute a crucial factor in the management of projects and growth initiatives.”

“The demand for highly skilled administrative professionals is set to continue in 2016. In today’s employment market, companies are placing a focus on making strategic recruitment choices and sourcing the right talent that can provide the company with a competitive edge, as opposed to significantly increasing headcount.”

“Companies are also increasingly relying on a flexible hiring policy. More than ever they are using interim administrative professionals as part of their employee pool, giving them the flexibility to respond more quickly to business changes.”

While overall business confidence is high with 87% of Australian HR managers being confident in their company’s growth prospects, there are some significant differences across the states. Almost one-third (32%) of HR managers in New South Wales and more than one-quarter (28%) of HR leaders in Victoria say they will create new jobs for administrative and office support employees, compared to 16% of HR managers in Queensland and West Australia. 

David Jones said: “Business leaders across Australia are reasonably confident in their company’s growth. This is underpinning demand for skilled administrative talent, but with notable differences according to geography and sector.”

“Demand for quality administrative talent remains most robust in New South Wales and Victoria, but even in other states those candidates who can improve efficiencies, or help reduce a firm’s cost base remain in high demand.”

What are your company's hiring plans for permanent administrative and office support employees in the second half (July-December) of 2016?

  Australia NSW Victoria Queensland WA
Expanding - Adding new positions 23% 32% 28% 16% 16%
Maintaining - Only filling vacated positions 67% 60% 60% 68% 80%
Freezing - Not filling vacating positions and not creating new ones 6% 4% 8% 8% 4%
Reducing - Eliminating positions 4% 4% 4% 8% 0%

Source: independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 Australian HR managers.

According to HR managers, talent shortages are abundant, with a net 89% indicating that it is challenging (23%) or somewhat challenging (66%) to find skilled professional-level employees today. The primary reason for this challenge, according to 34% of HR managers, is general demand outweighing supply followed by a lack of niche technical experts available (29%) and a shortage of commercial, business skills (26%). 

The top five functional fields within office administration whereby HR mangers are finding it most challenging to source skilled staff are HR analysts/HR assistance (41%), office management (24%), executive/personal assistance (20%), PR/marketing analysts (20%), and logistic support (14%)

Top 5 functional areas within office administration it is most difficult to find skilled job candidates

HR analysts / HR assistance 41%
Office management 24%
Executive/personal assistance 20%
PR/marketing analysts/assistance 20%
Logistic support 14%

Source: independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 Australian HR managers – multiple answers allowed.

David Jones concluded: “Hiring managers all too often, and erroneously, think that there is a large pool of available administrative talent. However despite unemployment figures the search for several administrative roles is not without challenges. Companies are selective and want to attract candidates who can hit the ground running and have an immediate impact on business productivity.” 


About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research company, surveying 100 HR managers in Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. 

Contact Us


Gabrielle Nagy  
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
Tel: 02 8028 7751
Email: [email protected]

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