One-quarter of employers planning to cut staff: survey

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One-quarter of employers planning to cut staff: survey

A quarter of employers are planning to reduce staff over the next three months, and about the same number expect their staff to be working reduced hours, according to a survey of employers.

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A quarter of employers are planning to reduce staff over the next three months, and about the same number expect their staff to be working reduced hours, according to a survey of employers.
 
However the survey, by the NSW Business Chamber (NSWBC), shows some optimism with employers expecting the next three months to be ‘less bad’.
 
The survey canvassed the opinion of over 440 small- to medium-sized business across metropolitan and regional NSW.
 
Financial crisis hitting hard
 
NSWBC CEO Kevin MacDonald said the global financial crisis was hitting employment prospects hard with twice as many businesses expecting to reduce employee numbers (24.3%) rather than increase staff (9.2%) over the next three months.
 
Further, one in four businesses (25%) reported a decrease in the number of hours their employees were working.
 
Employers loyal to staff
 
‘Many employers are loyal to their employees and are doing their hardest to keep their staff on by altering work practices and reducing hours, but it’s an uphill battle in this economic environment,’ MacDonald said.
 
The survey report says most of the respondents employ less than 50 people and are from various industry sectors. Just under one-quarter (24.3%) believe that the number of employees will decline in the next three months.
 
These estimates are consistent with the inquiries NSWBC’s Workplace Advice centre has been receiving.
 
Termination inquiries
 
In the last three months, calls on termination and redundancy have stabilised at 20% of all inquiries after a 60% increase since July 2008.
 
Additionally, in the open response part of the survey businesses revealed that payroll tax is a disincentive to retaining staff.
 
The survey also found one in three businesses are still experiencing difficulty in securing finance from banks.
 
Finance still expensive
 
MacDonald said that despite the massive reduction in the cash rate by the Reserve Bank, ‘a staggering 55% of businesses said that the cost of finance had remained the same over the past three months’.
 
Key findings
 
Key findings of the survey include:
  • Business Conditions

    For almost one in two (45.5%) businesses, business conditions have declined in the last three months. Two in five (41.7%) expect business conditions to remain the same in the next three months.

    However, over one-third (39.0%) believe that business conditions will decline in the next three months.

    Again, regional businesses are more optimistic than their metropolitan counterparts about business conditions in the next three months.
  • Sales Revenue

    For almost one in two (47.5%) businesses sales revenue declined in the last three months. Similarly, two in five (41.7%) expect sales revenue to decline in the next three months.
  • Number of Employees

    Three in five (60.1%) businesses state that the number of employees remained the same in the last three months.

    Similarly, two in three (66.4%) businesses expect the number of employees to remain the same in the next three months.

    However, just under one-quarter (24.3%) believe that the number of employees will decline in the next three months.
  • Hours Worked by Employees

    For more than one in two (55.6%) businesses the number of hours worked by employees remained the same in the last three months.

    Similarly, three in five (57.4%) businesses expect the number of hours worked by employees to remain the same in the next three months.

    However, just under one-quarter (23.0%) believe that the number of hours worked by employees will decrease in the next three months.
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