The New Zealand employment market appears to be on the rise, if the upswing in listings on popular job sites is anything to go by. Over the final quarter of 2016, more than 65,000 job vacancies were posted on Trade Me Jobs, with new listings across the whole country up by 16.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2015.
Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade suggested the job market trend bodes very well for the year ahead.
"Kiwi employers seem pretty confident about 2017, with every region and all but four job categories across the country having more new listings than a year ago. We don't see this kind of consistent nationwide growth often, so it's really encouraging for the 2017 job market as well as the economy as a whole," Mr Wade said.
However, while more jobs are on offer, salaries have dipped slightly – by 0.4 per cent.
"Wage inflation appears low … but we expect this to rise in 2017 as demand for candidates increases," said Mr Wade.
Those looking for employment have more choices and employers will therefore need to put in more effort.
A job-seeker's market?
The marked increase in job listings would seem to indicate that those looking for employment have more choices and employers will therefore need to put in more effort to get the right talent.
On the Trade Me Jobs site, there was a 14 per cent reduction in the average number of applications per listing from October to December 2016.
Mr Wade suggested that "applications are down due to a combination of high demand for candidates and talent shortages which means there are great roles to be found if you're looking for a new role. Employers can still find great candidates but they need to make sure they promote themselves in their listing."
"Job seekers want to know they're applying to a workplace that meets their needs in terms of development, culture and opportunity, not just pay, and they gravitate to listings that sell the organisation and the opportunity well," he added.
Auckland's construction boom
An increase in demand for skilled workers in New Zealand's largest city rose strongly by the end of 2016, with Trade Me Job listings up by 17.5 per cent on the same period the previous year, and average salaries increasing by 0.8 per cent.
Mr Wade revealed that much of the job market growth in Auckland can be attributed to the construction and trade sectors, job listings for which rose by 27.1 per cent and 24.6 per cent, respectively.
"The housing and building boom in the Super City is translating into massive numbers of jobs and really pushing the Auckland job market forward. The recruiters we work with are very positive about the Auckland market for 2017, many of them are increasing their presence in the city as the job boom continues," Mr Wade said.
Also performing strongly was Auckland's IT job market. This sector saw a 27.2 per cent increase in Trade Me Job listings over the final quarter, with programming and telecommunications professionals being most in demand.
Waikato and Bay of Plenty surging
While job demand rose in every region in the country, Waikato and Bay of Plenty performed the best with 31.8 per cent and 38.9 per cent increases in Trade Me Job listings, respectively.
"The phenomenal growth in these regions has been driven by roles across the transport and logistics, trades and services, and construction industries, coupled with the halo effect stemming from their proximity to Auckland," said Mr Wade.
In other parts of the country, there was also noticeable growth – in Gisborne (50.3 per cent), Nelson/Tasman (28.7 per cent) and Otago (27.2 per cent). The smallest change was in Canterbury with a mere 0.9 per cent increase in job listings compared with the last quarter of 2015.
"Canterbury's market continues to stabilise following the rebuild. The number of construction listings is flat year-on-year but hospitality listings have jumped 22.6 per cent," said Mr Wade.
Job demand by industry sector
Demand for jobs appears to be on the rise in nearly every sector of New Zealand's economy. Property saw a jump in job listings in the last quarter of last year of 54.4 per cent over and above the same period the year before, while science and technology (34.4 per cent) and management (53.7 per cent) also showed increased growth.
Only four sectors saw a decrease; of note banking job listings fell by 26.7 per cent.
Retention is key for employers
The skills shortage being seen across New Zealand means that salaries and wages are likely to rise, putting further pressure on businesses.
Shay Peters, head of Robert Walters New Zealand, recently said the competitive nature of the job market looks set to remain for the foreseeable future.
"Given the skills shortage has become increasingly apparent in the last 24 months, it is really starting to impact company's and their ability to grow at the rate they feel they could if they had the right resources on board," Mr Peters said.
"We urge hiring managers to make employee engagement and retention a high priority, offering extra benefits, such as flexible working conditions and health and wellbeing programmes to attract premium candidates. Make sure you clearly articulate why a candidate should join your business, why it will benefit them professionally and what you can offer them in terms of a working environment."
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almost 4 years ago by Will Percy