SEEK Employment Trends: New Zealand job market continues to strengthen

The New Zealand job market showed no sign of slowing down as 2016 drew to a close. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads were up in December and experts say a focus on workplace culture has never been more important for attracting the best talent.

There were 9.4% more job ads on SEEK in December compared to the same time the year before. “The year ended on a high and we started 2017 in a similar way,” says Pete Macauley, Regional Director of recruitment firm Michael Page New Zealand.  “Organisations were wanting to put their structures and their head count in place by the end of the year, so there was a fair amount of urgency from clients. There was certainly no slowdown.”

Industries on the rise

The majority of industries experienced year-on-year increases in job ads in December. Community services and development was out in front with growth of 31% compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $70,607. Call centre and customer service also saw a year-on-year increase of 26% and the average advertised salary was $47, 403. Mike Davies, Managing Director of recruitment firm Adecco, explains that call centres are beginning to return to New Zealand after long periods of offshoring. “We’re also seeing new call centres opening outside the major cities because costs are usually cheaper,” he adds.

Job ads for accounting grew by 18% year-on-year in December and the average advertised salary was $77,812. “We’re seeing good demand for accountants,” says Davies. “There’s a general growth in analytical requirements within accounting and so this is a big focus for recruitment.”

Retail and consumer products increased by 13% and the average advertised salary was $52,937. Sales roles were also up by 9% and the average advertised salary was $76,886. “We’re seeing a good number of account managers but a shortage of good sales people,” says Davies. “Employers are looking for people who know how to close a deal.”

New Zealand’s burgeoning construction industry continued to deliver increases in job ads across the sector. They were up by 12% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $101,425. “Construction is leading GDP growth in New Zealand and businesses are continuing to invest in the resources that they need for projects happening throughout 2017,” says Macauley.

A slip in three sectors

Only three industries experienced a year-on-year decline in job ads in December. Information and communication technology was down by 3% and the average advertised salary was $93,574.

Sports and recreation saw a decline of 4% and the average advertised salary was $66,824. Meanwhile, banking and financial services was down by 19% and the average advertised salary was $84,575. “Banks are recording lower levels of profitability and it will continue to be more expensive for them to borrow offshore,” explains Macauley. “This is having an overall impact on their margins and, as a result, they are looking at their head count and the productivity that they are generating.”

Trends across the regions

Auckland continues to show high levels of job ads relative to the past five years and there has been an upward trend over the past four months. “Auckland still represents the backbone of growth across the country,” says Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand. “It recorded annual job ad growth of 15.9% compared to a year ago.”

Job ads in Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough were also at high levels relative to the past five years and have been showing signs of greater strength of the past four months. Although job ads Canterbury remain high relative the past five year, there has been a downward trend over the past four months.

Meanwhile, Wellington has recorded moderate levels of job ads relative to past five years, however there may be more positive news ahead with the region showing an upward trend over the past four months.

Focus on workplace culture

Workplace culture is set to be firmly on the agenda throughout 2017 as companies compete to attract the best talent. “Companies need to be more creative in how they sell themselves to candidates,” says Davies. “They also need to offer a more comprehensive package. That includes a competitive salary as well as career and training opportunities.”

Macauley adds that while remuneration will continue to be important for candidates, career progression will be a greater consideration. “Workplace flexibility will also be important,” he says. “A culture that’s energetic, transparent and passionate about success will also be attractive to candidates.”

The year ahead looks set to be a busy one. “We’re seeing a greater level of confidence and many companies are moving into their next life cycle and need new talent to accelerate their growth,” says Macauley. “We think 2017 will be an interesting year.





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