HR Leaders report a business sentiment downturn

HR leaders report business sentiment is on a downward trend, according to research from my firm, Career365*. The research, from 312 HR Managers and other executives revealed the bushfires that ravaged Australia all Summer, as well as the coronavirus outbreak, are starting to have an impact on sentiment issues.

A solid 58% of all respondents said that business conditions were worse because of the bushfires but of major concern was that 84% felt the impact of the coronavirus would be significant.

Perhaps encouragingly, but at the same time surprisingly, 95% of respondents stated they felt their staffing levels would remain the same in the next three to six months.

The industries which reflected the most pessimistic sentiment were:

·    Retail

·    Hospitality

·    Travel

·    Entertainment

Sectors that reflected more robust sentiment were:

·    online businesses and

·    medical devices.

One head of HR who works within the hospitality sector, with outlets across Australia estimated their business was down by 25% since the coronavirus hit. If that persisted, then it would be inevitable that staff layoffs would have to take place.

Her view was echoed by a luxury retailer whose head of HR said they were concerned about revenues, given much of their client base was reliant on Chinese/Asian tourists.

However, the Head of HR of an online retailer was less concerned. Their view was that they worry about the spread of the coronavirus would encourage more people to shop from their homes.

The results of the sentiment survey are in line with recent statements from Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 Feb 2020, warning of a "significant impact on the Australian economy" from the coronavirus as seafood businesses fear they will have to close their doors.

So far the virus is costing tourism $1 billion a month and damaging other industries too due to a lack of more than 106,000 international students.

Career365 (formerly CareerSupport365) is a leading Australian employee transitioning firm, specialising in outplacement and employee onboarding.