SEEK Employment Trends New Zealand: spotlight on Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city is renowned for its culinary and arts culture; however, a number of other employment sectors took centre stage in April 2016. While Wellington’s performance on the job front does not match that of sister city Auckland, experts believe further growth may be just around the corner.

SEEK job ads from Wellington experienced a sharp spike in April 2016, which helped offset declines experienced in recent months. Marketing and communications roles were out in front in terms of year-on-year job ad growth, rising by 95% compared to the same time last year. Job ads for the legal sector were a close second, recording a 92% year-on-year increase.

Stable growth

Overall, SEEK job ads are stable in Wellington and while candidate availability in the region has been high relative to the past five years, numbers have been tightening in recent months.

Brien Keegan, New Zealand country manager at recruitment firm Randstad, describes the Wellington employment market as strong and steady. “We’re seeing more demand for permanent workers and a slight easing off in demand for contracting staff,” he says. “This, combined with an increase in counter offers that we’re seeing in Wellington, indicates a growing confidence as employers are willing to commit to taking on permanent headcount as opposed to opting for the flexibility of contractors.”

Lee Tyrrell, Managing Consultant with recruitment firm Franklin Smith, says the Wellington market may soon benefit from growth in other regions of New Zealand. “Some of the run-on from growth in Auckland is going to Hamilton and to Tauranga, and it will naturally get down to Wellington as well,” he says.

Sectors leading the way include marketing and communications

Iain MacGibbon, Managing Director of recruitment firm Farrow Jamieson, notes the increase in SEEK job ads for the marketing and communications industry may be due to the expanding nature of the sector. “Marketers are now expected to have digital and social media expertise, and those sorts of campaigns are now fitting into marketing rather than in classic advertising,” he says.

Positive results for April also extended to Wellington’s community services and development sector, where job ads rose by 91% compared to the same time last year. The region’s mining, resources and energy sector also experienced year-on-year job ad growth and was up by 88%, while the manufacturing, transport and logistics sector rose by 66%.

Wellington is regarded as the culinary capital of New Zealand and the volume of international visitors to the region has grown by 23% since 2010, according to the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency. Job ads for the region’s burgeoning hospitality and tourism sector also increased by a small jump in April of 1%.

The region’s government and defence sector maintained its strong job ad performance and grew by 68% year-on-year. Keegan notes this growth may be tied to the end of financial year. “In government, we’re seeing a pick-up in demand for staff to help cope with the increased workload of financial year-end,” he says.

Like much of the country, job ads for Wellington’s construction industry increased year-on-year. They rose by 27% and the design and architecture sector also experienced a year-on-year growth of 28%. Related industries such as trades and services were also up by 22% compared to the same time last year.

Some sectors slip, including banking and financial services

While the majority of sectors in Wellington saw year-on-year increases in job ads, some experienced a decline. The banking and financial services sector decreased by 12% and SEEK job ads for the accounting sector were down by 9%.

Despite the heat up in the region’s housing market, SEEK job ads for the real estate and property sector slipped by 8% year-on-year. There was also a small decline of 3% for the human resources and recruitment industry compared to the same time last year; however, Keegan notes an increase in some roles within the sector. “We’re seeing an increase in organisational change initiatives, which is creating new opportunities for staff internally and externally. This increase in change initiatives is also driving an increase in the need for consulting work, so we’re also seeing consulting firms taking on more staff to cope with the increase in demand.”

The engineering sector also experienced a small year-on-year drop in job ads of 5% in April 2016; however, Tyrrell notes that the breadth of the industry makes it difficult to pinpoint specific declines. “We are certainly seeing growth in some areas of engineering,” he says.

SEEK job ads for the information and communications technology sector also recorded a year-on-year slip of 7%, and advertising, arts and media saw a decline of 36%; however, MacGibbon notes that some of the classic advertising roles have now moved into the marketing domain.

Despite declines in some sectors, April 2016 delivered good news for the region with overall job ads rising sharply after a fall in recent months. It’s encouraging to see Wellington step into the new financial year on a positive note.

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