- The prospect of employment in South Africa for the next three months is not pretty, according to new research on hiring intentions.
- But there are some sectors where companies expect to add new jobs between July and September.
- The third quarter may be a good time to be in finance and real estate, and the restaurant and hotel industry is also optimistic.
South African companies generally do not plan to hire more people in the next quarter, from July to September, according to ManpowerGroup's Employment Outlook Survey released on Tuesday.
Compared to this time in 2018, the number of companies wishing to increase their payrolls dropped by two percentage points, the survey showed with 752 employers of different sizes across the country.
But employment prospects differ considerably between provinces – and across industries.
See also: These are the provinces of South Africa, where employers will hire in the next three months – and you do not want to be hunting labor in the Free State.
Half of the industry sectors ManpowerGroup registered contracting intentions weaker than in the previous quarter, with two sectors showing large declines: construction, agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing.
The construction industry also showed a considerably lower appetite to hire people when compared on a year-on-year basis, and there were also large declines in transportation, storage and communications, as well as in electricity, gas and water compared to 2018.
Here are the South African industries that plan to hire – and do not plan to hire – more people between July and September.
Finance, insurance and real estate: + 12%
The banking and business services industry has maintained its intention to hire more people – with companies aiming to increase jobs by three percentage points over the previous year, and leasing intentions remain stable at 12% quarter on quarter .
Once adjusted seasonally, the financial sector remains the most optimistic, with 11% of companies hoping to employ more people.
Public and social: + 7%
The public sector remains unconcerned with economic conditions. At a net level of 7% of employers wishing to hire more people – without seasonal adjustment – the outlook for this field is stable in relation to the previous quarter and above 3 percentage points year on year.
Restaurants and hotels: + 4%
Tourism in South Africa has had a torrid time between visa problems and drought in the Western Cape. But a network of 4% of companies in the sector intend to hire people in the third quarter of 2019 – and seasonally adjusted this number jumps to 10%, second only to the financial sector.
This represents a four percentage point increase in that period in 2018 – and surprising 14 percentage points more than in the second quarter of 2019, when contracting expectations in hospitality was lower than at any time since 2013.
Electricity, gas and water supply + 4%
The energy and utilities sector reported a network of 4% of respondents saying they plan to hire more people between July and September, and that drops only one percentage point when adjusted for the season.
Although this makes the sector the most likely to add new jobs, contracting prospects fell sharply in the year-on-year comparison, by nine percentage points weaker.
Mining and Quarrying: + 2%
Like manufacturing and the wholesale and retail sector, a 2 percent net share of the miner expects to be adding jobs in the third quarter of 2019, but this increases to 4 percent when adjusted for seasonal variation.
That is stable compared to a year ago, but fell two percentage points since the second quarter, which was down compared to a first quarter that was more optimistic than in any other period since 2014.
Manufacture: + 2%
In manufacturing, the seasonally adjusted expectation is that a network of 3% of employers are adding jobs, or 2% before adjustment.
This is stable in the quarterly comparison, but up two percentage points from the same period in 2018.
Wholesale and retail trade: + 2%
Like manufacturing, 2% of companies that sell retail or wholesale expect to hire more people between July and September, or 3%, once adjusted seasonally.
After relatively good prospects for job seekers since the end of 2018, this represents a fall of six percentage points compared to April and June, and a drop of two percentage points over the third quarter of 2018.
Transportation, storage and communication: 0%
Although there are two sectors with worse prospects, the transport and communications sectors reported their worst prospects for hiring in two years.
On a net basis, no one in these industries expects to hire new people, but this improves to 4% once adjusted seasonally.
Even once adjusted, however, that number has fallen by 16 percentage points since the third quarter or 2018.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing: -2%
A 2% network of employers in the food and wood industry says it will cut jobs instead of hiring in the next three months. Once adjusted for the season – in a very seasonal sector – this improves to 7% of the companies hiring, putting the sector on par with the public service.
This is stable compared to a year ago, but fell nine percentage points since the second quarter of 2019.
Construction companies – or those companies that are still standing after the recent bloodbath – do not seem to expect things to get better for them in the short term. Over the next three months, a network of 9% of construction companies expects to reduce the number of employees, and that number remains at 8% when adjusted for the season.
That fell nine percentage points compared to the surprisingly optimistic quarter of 2019.
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