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Hiring plans hit post-pandemic high, survey reveals


Three out of four businesses plan to recruit and will prioritise quality candidates over “bums on seats”.

By Philip King 12 minute read

Hiring intentions have hit a post-pandemic high with three out of four businesses planning to recruit this year despite economic headwinds, according to a survey by an human resources software specialist.

The figure, the best since the Elmo survey of HR professionals began in 2019, shows a big lift on last year when just 50 per cent expected to recruit.

CEO and co-founder Danny Lessem was surprised by the overall level of optimism given the challenge of finding suitable staff, the tech crunch and fears of a global recession.


“The overall surge in optimism when it comes to adding headcount is a good reminder that not all organisations will be impacted by economic uncertainty in the same way,” he said.

“While some sectors may be forced to downsize in 2023 … others will outperform.”

He said a “bums on seats mentality” over the past few years was shifting in favour of high-quality recruits who were a good fit for their roles.

“HR is now telling us that finding the right candidates is their biggest recruitment challenge and that suggests the focus has shifted from quantity to quality,” he said.

The HR Industry Benchmark Report found that among companies on the look-out for staff, 48 per cent expected their workforce to grow by 11-25 per cent while 34 per cent said staff would increase by more a quarter.

By contrast, only 15 per cent expected workforce numbers to be stable and just 7 per cent believed they would decrease.

However, the challenge of finding and keeping ideal candidates remained top issues for HR professionals.

The survey found the average turnover rate for new hires within their probation period was 13 per cent, on par with last year but almost twice as high as pre-pandemic levels.

Almost one-third of HR specialists said finding the right candidates was their company’s key recruitment challenge, displacing the skills shortage and competition for talent which tied for first place last year.

Mr Lessem said hiring good quality candidates was simply a sound approach to business.

“Given potential budget constraints this year and the need for high productivity as the economy slows, it makes commercial sense to hire well rather than waste money churning through new staff,” he said.

“We anticipate that hiring throughout the rest of the year will be much more deliberate.”

Now in its fourth year, the HR Industry Benchmark Report is based on a survey of 700 Australian human resources professionals. It is the largest survey of its kind in Australia and a joint initiative between ELMO Software and the Australia Human Resources Institute.




Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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