Seventy-eight percentage of businesses in Brazil in South America have the highest level of confidence in their 2020 business growth prospects of 13 countries surveyed. This was followed by Australia and the United Arab Emirates (69%), the research found.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on December 13, 2019

Business throughout the world being gripped by an economic slowdown is a phrase often heard on news radio or read in august publications of late, yet new independent research shows that business in many countries still have a high level of confidence heading into 2020.

Seventy-eight percentage of business in Brazil in South America has the highest level of confidence in their 2020 business growth prospects of 13 countries surveyed. This was followed by Australia and the United Arab Emirates (69%).

Specialised recruitment consultancy Robert Half reported their findings from a survey of 5,165 business leaders in Brazil, Australia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the UK and Chile.

High levels of business confidence in Australia have, in turn, resulted in expansive hiring plans for the following year as nearly half (46%) plan to increase permanent staff numbers.

Almost seven in 10 (69%) of the 501 Australian business leaders surveyed cite very high levels of confidence, 13% above the international average of 56%. Amongst the thirteen countries surveyed, this level of confidence is exceeded only by Brazil (78%) and is on par with the United Arab Emirates (69%). Additionally, only 3% of Australian leaders indicate they have no confidence in their business prospects for the year ahead.

When looking at the top three reasons influencing Australian business leaders’ level of confidence, expanding business opportunities (56% against the international average of 49%), the current economic climate (57% against the international average of 54%), and attracting suitable talent (50% against international average 48%) are shared as the top considerations for many executives in Australia and across the globe.

The majority of companies, ranging from large to small and across Australian states are planning to invest in their permanent headcount in the coming year. When asked about their permanent hiring plans, 46% of Australian leaders say they will expand their headcount by adding new permanent positions, 8% above the international average of 38%. Another 37% plan to maintain their staff levels and only focus on filling vacated positions.

Following a four-year surge in the number of contingent roles created in the Australian professional sector, Australian companies are now prioritising filling vacant temporary roles rather than expanding their headcount. Four in ten (40%) companies plan to maintain their current temporary staff headcount, 8% higher than the international average of 32%.

When asked for the top three reasons behind their employment plans, business leaders point to an increased workload as the key driver behind their hiring decisions (58% permanent / 46% temporary), followed by the current economic and business climate (51% permanent / 42% temporary) and employee turnover (51% permanent / 38% temporary).

business, Australia, mining

“C-suite sentiment is positive, driven largely by public infrastructure investment, the recovery of the mining sector, as well as ongoing digitisation efforts and robust trade relations. Our research shows that companies are capitalising on the opportunities this presents by investing in their permanent headcount to support their forward growth strategies, from expanded business operations to the implementation of new initiatives or investments,” says Andrew Morris, Director at Robert Half Australia.

“Rapid advances in technology are changing the way companies do business and in order to remain competitive in a global market, leaders should continue to employ a flexible staffing strategy that combines permanent and contract employees in order to gain access to niche, low supply skills while upskilling the existing workforce at the same time,” added Morris.