SEEK Employment Trends New Zealand: spotlight on education and training

New government legislation and a growing population are having an impact on New Zealand’s education and training sector. As a result, experts say employers are looking to beef up their staffing numbers – as well as their staffing skills – in readiness for the changes ahead.

SEEK job ads for the education and training sector increased by 18% year-on-year in April 2016. The level of candidate availability has been stable for the past four months and the average advertised salary was $67,780.

Brien Keegan, New Zealand Country Manager with recruitment firm Randstad, points to a number of factors impacting the employment and training sector. “Government funding and regulation certainly has a large impact, as does population growth of school-age children or children being placed in early childhood care,” he says. “Right now, population growth is placing greater demand on schools in the local area and therefore there is a need for teachers to meet that growth.”


Teaching in times of change

The Vulnerable Children’s Act of 2014 mandates that from 1 July this year, all non-core staff at schools and early childhood services must meet a new set of safety requirements. Keegan says this is having an impact on recruitment. “We’re seeing early childhood education centres trying to get prepared ahead of the act’s implementation by ensuring they are taking on the right staff that meet the new, more stringent requirements to work in education,” he says.

With New Zealand's population growing at its fastest rate in more than a decade, experts say schools are experiencing greater demand. “In general, we are noticing an increase in demand, particularly in Auckland, as school roles grow due to the increasing population,” says Keegan. “The government is also investing in their multi-million dollar schools program, upgrading school facilities but also increasing capacity in some areas. As some of these projects start coming to completion, it’s only natural that schools will begin looking for extra staff once they have the new facilities in place.”

SEEK job ad numbers for primary school teachers in New Zealand grew by 38% year-on-year in April 2016. While job ads for secondary teachers recorded a slip of 5%, compared to the same time last year, and ads for early childhood teachers rose by 14%.

Keegan adds that April generally marks the beginning of a busy time for recruitment in the education sector. “Term 2 and 3 are traditionally a busy time for us as schools and early childhood centres have increased demand for teachers to provide relief as the winter sniffles set in and teachers need time off to recover,” he explains.



Vocational teaching leads the way

While SEEK job ads for primary and secondary teaching roles increased in April, compared to the same time last year, vocational teaching was out in front, with job ads growing by 186% year-on-year.

While this increase may be due to a growing interest in skills-oriented education and training, regulatory changes may also have contributed to the growth.

One example is the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA), which came into effect from 4 April this year. The new legislation shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks in order to reduce the number of New Zealanders killed or hurt at work. These changes have led to an increase in training requirements.

Site Safe, a not-for-profit membership-based organisation that provides training, products and advisory services to improve health and safety within New Zealand’s construction industry, is experiencing growing demand.

Emma Kilvington, HR Advisor with Site Safe, says the organisation has been on a growth path for some time. “This is being assisted by an increased focus on health and safety because of the new legislation,” she explains. “It is leading to a growth in training.”

While SEEK job ads for vocational teaching saw a year-on-year increase in April, there was no movement in job ads for vocational management roles, compared to the same time last year.



New heights for higher education

New Zealand’s universities of Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury stand tall as some of the country’s top research centres. Job ads for research and fellowship roles increased in April by 82%, and tertiary teaching roles grew by 12%, compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, job ads for university management roles fell by 69% and student services job ads were down by 24%.

Tutors appeared to be in greater demand in April, with SEEK job ads for these roles increasing by 96% year-on-year. Job ads for library and information services also grew by 76% year-on-year.

As New Zealand’s education and training sector adjusts to new legislation and the demands of a growing population, it will be interesting to watch how the employment market reacts in the months ahead.



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