Wellington leads the way for job opportunities

Business confidence in New Zealand slumped to a nine-year low in October, but no one told the job market. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows opportunities are continuing to rise across the country,.

Job ads on SEEK increased by 9.7% in October compared to the same time last year. Wellington was out in front with an 11.3% lift. New Zealand’s capital also had a strong salary result, with pay packets growing above the national average at 2.9%.

Meanwhile, average salary growth across the country reached 1.8% compared the same time last year. Industries experiencing the highest salary growth include Engineering, Construction and Information & Communication Technology (ICT). Salaries in Healthcare & Medical are continuing to rebound and Education & Training is also on the rise. 

Andrew Batey, Associate Director, Michael Page New Zealand, says demand for talent remains strong across most industries. 

“There are reports of low business confidence, but we are certainly not seeing it from a recruitment perspective,” he says. “Demand for talent remains strong, particularly in areas such as IT, and we don’t expect this to change any time soon.”

Trends across the industries 

The majority of industries experienced year-on-year job ad growth. Construction and Engineering were among the six industries to experience a small decline  – 2% and 3% respectively – however Batey says this may be coming off a high base.

Government & Defence was one of the strongest performers with job ads rising 18% year-on-year for the three-month period of August to October. Lifting the cap on core public servant numbers in June this year may be a key contributor to this growth.

Opportunities in ICT rose by 18% over the same period. Batey suggests the growth is due to ongoing digital transformation across the country. 

“Our IT division is the fastest growing division in our business,” he says. “We’re also seeing more demand for IT security roles.”

The Banking & Financial Services industry also recorded a lift over this period with job ads rising by 5%. While the sector has recorded moderate levels of job ad growth relative to the past five year, an upward trend has been noted over the past four months. 

“The Royal Commission into Banking & Financial Services in Australia has placed the spotlight on the sector in New Zealand,” says Batey. “We’re seeing an increasing demand for risk and compliance roles across the sector. We’re also expecting some regulatory changes and this tends to led to greater need for compliance specialists.”

Strategies for recruitment success

Competition for talent is heating up as the year winds down. However, leading recruiters say there are ways for employers secure the talent they require.  

Ben Pearson, General Manager – Wellington at Beyond Recruitment, suggests focusing on high-performance traits. 

“Hirers who are getting the best hiring outcomes are very flexible on required skill levels as long as the candidate shows they have the innate traits evident in high performers,” he say.  High performance traits such as resilience, teachability and positivity are in-built, not learned. Hirers need to understand the characteristics of the high performers currently in their organisation, and seek those traits in prospective candidates.” 

Bianca Jones, New Zealand Country Manager at Talent International, suggests promoting career development during recruitment activities.

“A good employer will ensure they provide suitable training and development for their top candidates, not just from a technical perspective but also from a soft skill perspective,” she says. “Topics such as career planning and goal setting, as well as assertiveness and negotiation, are high in demand.”

Batey says that while flexibility is a growing expectation among candidates, salary remains the key driver of employment choices. 

“It’s not the only thing candidates care about, but I think it still tops the list,” he says. “Employers need to remain competitive and benchmark their salaries.

Batey adds that work-life balance is also a high priority among candidates. “It’s not enough for employers to simply say that they support work-life balance,” he says. “Candidates want to know how your organisation can make it work, so you need to promote your workplace culture and give real examples of your commitment to flexibility.”

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SEEK Insights & Resources New Zealand

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in New Zealand, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people live...

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