SEEK Employment Trends New Zealand: regional spotlight on Auckland

New Zealand is experiencing its greatest construction boom in more than 40 years and the country’s largest city is leading the way. Auckland is on the rise in more ways than one and the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows a year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads.

Auckland recorded a growth in SEEK job ads in the majority of employment sectors. Candidate availability stayed high, which has remained unchanged for the past four months.

John Harland, director of ERG Recruitment Group, describes Auckland as a booming city. “The growth in Auckland is just phenomenal,” he says. “Two-thirds of our immigration is going into Auckland and that is driving additional housing and also driving new skills in the market.”

Construction on the horizon

Auckland’s skyline reveals a growing trend. The construction industry experienced a year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads of 31% across the region. Pete Macauley, regional director of recruitment firm Michael Page, says this growth reflects a general increase in construction in the country, which is growing by 10% per annum and generating more than $30 billion in revenue each year.

“The construction sector is seeing a huge level of demand for talent across residential, commercial and civil sectors,” says Macauley. “It’s booming here and is contributing to strong levels of GDP growth in New Zealand. It’s one of our strongest sectors.”

Industries related to construction also experienced year-on-year increases in SEEK job ads. Auckland’s design and architecture sector, for example, was up by 10%, while trades and services ads grew by 19%.

SEEK job ads in Auckland’s real estate and property sector were also up by 27% compared to the same time last year. “There’s been a big increase in property value and turnover in Auckland,” explains Harland. “It’s very similar to Sydney in that there’s just a lack of stock. There’s a lot of new building going on and a lot of new infrastructure but it just can’t seem to keep pace with demand.”

Auckland eyes senior managers

It wasn’t only construction and its related industries that experienced a year-on-year growth in SEEK job ads. In fact, Auckland’s CEO and general management sector saw the greatest increase in March 2016, rising by 97% year-on-year.

Harland says this may be due to more baby boomers preparing for retirement from senior positions. “This will remove a lot of skills from the workforce and that will be an ongoing challenge,” he says.

Harland adds that Auckland has become a hub for international business and local head offices, and this may be contributing to the rise in SEEK job ads for senior managers. “When I look back on my early days, all the head offices were in Wellington,” he says. “Now it’s basically a government city. All the head offices have moved to Auckland and this is probably contributing to growth in demand for senior positions in the city.”

Job ads for consulting and strategy roles in Auckland also grew by 58% year-on-year while administration and office support saw an increase in SEEK job ads of 16% compared to the same time last year.

With more international stores opening their doors in Auckland, job ads for the retail and consumer products sector were also on the rise, growing by 13% year-on-year. “I think as the economy has improved, people have been more confident in spending their money,” says Harland. “This contributes to the strength of the overall industry.”

A slip for some sectors

Although Auckland experienced an overall growth in SEEK job ads compared to the same time last year, some sectors saw a decline. Job ads for call centre and customer service roles were down by 11% year-on-year, and banking and financial services declined by 24%.

Job ads for Auckland’s information and communication technology sector were also down by 11% year-on-year in March 2016. Harland says this may be due to more companies looking off-shore for ICT functions. “IT can be operated from anywhere in the world and the cost of locating a business in Auckland is extremely high,” he says. “Many companies are taking the opportunity to move IT to lower-cost areas and the same job can still be done.”

Meanwhile, the region also saw a slip in SEEK job ads in the advertising, arts and media sector, which were down by 18% year-on-year. “This might be due to the increase of social media and the ease that it brings in promoting products without necessarily needing to involve advertising agencies,” says Harland. “This seems to be an ongoing trend.”

While some industries experienced a year-on-year decline, the overall increase in job ads represented good news for Auckland. With little sign of the construction boom abating, the region appears to be in very good shape.

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