While 2016 provided both challenges and opportunities for workers and the public in New Zealand, 2017 looks to hold a lot of promise. We can't know exactly what will happen this year (and 2016's earthquakes and election results proved just how unpredictable some events can be), but we can listen to what experts are saying about 2017's employment and job opportunities. Let's take a look at a few things we can expect to shape the job market in the year ahead.
The government has a positive outlook on employment for 2017
In a media statement in November last year, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said that New Zealand has a strong job market, and there are good opportunities for employment and long-term careers.
The construction and utility industries are expected to have strong employment growth in 2017.
"The New Zealand economy has added 35,000 more jobs in the last quarter alone," says Joyce, quoted by Scoop.co.nz.
In its 'Short-term Employment Forecasts: 2015-2018' document, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said the construction and utility industries are expected to have strong employment growth, as will the hospitality sector. There will be a particular need for highly skilled workers, a demand which the report expected to account for more than half of the overall employment growth for the period.
For less skilled workers, opportunities will come primarily from construction, retailing, accommodation, food processing and business services.
Construction will continue to be a significant industry for jobs, easing in the Canterbury region but escalating in Auckland to cope with the housing shortage.
Construction continues to have a high demand for workers
The 2016 edition of the 'National Construction Pipeline Report', by the MBIE, predicts construction activity worth over $30 billion per year for the foreseeable future. The New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB) sees this as a sign that the construction industry is moving from being cyclical to more stable and sustainable.
Since 2013, each edition of the report has described an expected peak of activity in 2017, but each new edition since 2013 predicts that the tail-off following this peak will be flatter and slower, meaning more construction over a longer period. This is good news for anyone looking for work in this industry in 2017 and beyond, either as a short-term or permanent placement.
Changes to immigration requirements
In October 2016, New Zealand Immigration made changes to the Skilled Migrant Category of the New Zealand Residence Programme that affect people who want to live and work in New Zealand permanently.
The Skilled Migrant Category works on a points-based system. People who want to apply to live in the country can claim points based on factors like their qualifications, skills or job offers they have received. Those with enough points are invited to apply for residency. As of October last year the threshold for selection has been raised from 140 to 160 points. Additionally, the way applicants prove they have enough ability to speak English has changed, with more people being required to take formal English tests.
While these changes make the process somewhat more challenging for those trying to gain residence in New Zealand, it shouldn't be seen as a disincentive. New Zealand is still in need of skilled migrant workers for both long and short-term roles, particularly in agriculture and forestry, construction, engineering and trades.
Industries will adapt and change
While many industries, like construction, will continue to hold their traditional place as dominant job providers, the job market will change alongside New Zealand's economy and culture.
Careers NZ says that the agriculture, horticulture, trades and communications industries – all traditionally good sources of opportunities – will continue to have high demand for workers in the future. But it also notes that information technology and the food and beverage industries are emerging as new sources of jobs.
This year will be good for those looking for work, particularly if you're skilled in a key high-demand industry.
The technology sector will be a one to watch, particularly in the way it interacts with other industries like construction and manufacturing. Deloitte predicts that the Internet of Things will lead to a range of new products and services that change the economy in ways that we cannot anticipate.
While there will inevitably be unexpected events that will shape New Zealand's economy and job market in 2017, it looks like a good situation for those looking for work, particularly if you are skilled in one of the key high-demand industries. Whether you're looking to come to the country this year, or are already in New Zealand but looking for a new job, there are opportunities available for you.
Tradestaff has connected job seekers with employers for more than 20 years. Since 1996 we've been providing temporary and permanent staff to a range of industries, and we are enthusiastic about continuing this service in the future. If you'd like to find out more about the job opportunities that are available to you this year, or to talk to us about short or long-term placements, please get in touch with your local Tradestaff branch today.
over 4 years ago by Will Percy