From manufacturing to superannuation, VECCI invited ten members from a diverse cross-section of industries to share their expectations for business and their sectors in 2015. Slade Group Chairman, Geoff Slade, responds.

The canary in the coal mine may not be singing, but it’s certainly not fallen off its perch. Slade Group is a good measure of the employment market with our ears to the ground in Melbourne and Sydney and our international executive search coverage.

If you are hiring staff, you may be disappointed to learn that good talent is just as hard to find as always. The fact is that high performing employees on any rung of their career ladder can make a compound effect in productivity and organisational performance. And that’s the candidate profile almost every employer wants.

The ABS mid-year data which was re-jigged to take into account non-seasonal variations, was no surprise to Slade Group. There has been a noticeable improvement in hiring sentiment and businesses are finally feeling more confident about stable market conditions. That intangible level of confidence which we can sense and which the economist accurately measure is by far the greatest determinant of labour movement. When confidence is low, staff stay put and organisations make do with headcount. Once confidence lifts, employers embrace the opportunity for growth and start hiring; in parallel, employees are more open to taking ‘a chance’ on a career move.

In our TRANSEARCH global executive search business, Europe, the UK, the USA and parts of Asia have all seen swings upwards in the past 12 months of between 7-10 per cent in hiring activity. Australia is lagging at around two per cent growth, but that’s a vast improvement on the negative territory of the last few years. In the temporary staffing arena, employers are again putting their toe in the water and taking on temporary and contract employees as their workforce is stretched and the nature of temporary staffing allows for flexibility and ease of managing fixed costs.

For the moment the recruitment mine has clean oxygen and high grade content. Two months ago we would have been very bullish about 2015. However, but as I pen this article late in October, we’re again faced with uncertainty and will wait to see what happens with our currency, stabilised government policy, property prices, interest rates, Middle East threats, the Ebola virus, labour costs, our manufacturing industry and so on.

This article was originally published in the Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) Business Excellence magazine Summer 2014-15 edition.