Australian employer sentiment continues to soften with the telco sector looking particularly slow as wage pressures continue to build.
The latest Hudson Report on employment expectations shows the national outlook has declined for the second consecutive quarter for the first time in more than two years, indicating a further softening of the Australian job market.
Hudson's Australia/New Zealand chief executive officer, Anne Hatton, said the tight Australian labour market is continuing to put upward pressure on wages.
"Throw in the prospect of rising interest rates and the threat of inflation and there is little surprise that employers' intentions to increase headcount have fallen," she said.
"Smart organizations are putting more focus on maximizing efficiencies within their existing teams."
The survey also showed that while 37.5 per cent of Australian employers expected to increase permanent employment levels over the March 2006 quarter, seven percent intended to decrease staffing levels.
The Hudson report, which surveyed 8693 employers, found a notable fall in employer sentiment in the telecommunications sector.
The survey said 17.1 percent of telco employers plan to decrease staffing levels in the first quarter.
Hatton said the fall in employment expectations for the telco sector is largely due to further restructuring in the industry and increased outsourcing of services to reduce operational costs.