SEEK Employment Trends: positive momentum continued in July 2016, with job ads up 4.8% YOY

The New Zealand job market maintained its positive momentum in July 2016. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows that job ads increased by 4.8% year-on-year across the country and while the strong trend towards part-time, contract and temp work continued, full-time roles were moderately strengthening.

Janice McNab, General Manager at recruitment firm Tradestaff, describes the overall market as positive. “There are small pockets where recruitment is less buoyant than we would like but, in general, things are pretty busy.”

Positive conditions in New Zealand are also encouraging more expats to look to return home, says Shay Peters, Wellington Director of recruitment firm Robert Walters. He’s also seeing a growing interest in the market from British talent. “When Brexit was announced, traffic to Immigration NZ’s website spiked straight away,” he says.

Industries on the move

Consulting and strategy led the way for year-on-year job ad growth in July 2016. The industry experienced a 38% increase in SEEK job ads, compared to the same time last year, and the average advertised salary was $99,011. Peters says large accounting firms are demonstrating a growing interest in consulting. “They are making a bigger play in the consulting space, especially within IT and procurement,” he says.

The hospitality and tourism industry saw a 15% increase in job ads year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $53,466. The New Zealand Government recently announced $45 million in additional funding over four years to further support tourism and its contribution to economic growth and jobs across the country – experts say this has been welcomed.

Peters predicts demand in the industry will continue to grow. “I think we’ll see an extra spike next year for the British and Irish Lions Tour,” he says. “In NZ, these kinds of sporting events are big business.”

SEEK job ads for New Zealand’s human resources and recruitment industry increased 17% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $81,061. Peters sees this as a natural result of a robust economy. “As the economy strengthens and businesses become more confident, demand for recruitment roles tend to go up,” he says.

SEEK job ads in the construction industry were also up in July 2016, growing by 3% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $96,155. Available roles within the trades and services industry were also higher, compared to the same time last year, and the average advertised salary was $59,610. “We are seeing good demand for this sector, particularly for plumbers and welders,” says McNab.

A slip for the public sector

Not all industries saw year-on-year increases in SEEK job ads in July 2016. The government and defence sector experienced a decline of 15% and the average advertised salary was $79,308. Peters notes that demand in the public sector is still solid, especially in Wellington. “We’re seeing more contingent labour being used in the public sector but there’s also a greater drive for efficiency,” he says. “Overall, the sector is still strong.”

SEEK job ads for sales roles also slipped in July 2016. They declined by 10% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $72,887. The information and communications technology industry was also down by 9% year-on-year; however, Peters is seeing good demand. “There is also a growth in contingent workers in this industry, rather than permanent roles,” he says. The average advertised salary for the industry was $93,447.
Meanwhile, banking and financial services experienced a decline of 11% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $86,343.

Peters says that while there are good opportunities for candidates in client-facing roles, there has been a reduction in back-office jobs within the banking and financial services industry. “A lot of resources are being put into back-end systems and platforms, so the investment is really going into technology,” he explains.

Trends across the regions

July 2016 delivered good news for Wellington, where job ads were up year-on-year.

“It’s great to see the continued improvement of the Wellington job market after a period of weakness earlier this year and last year,” said Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand. “Our capital is becoming more attractive to overseas companies. Last month the Australian department store David Jones opened their doors in Wellington and international fashion retail giants Zara and H&M are rumoured to follow, which only creates more jobs.”

The good news spread beyond the nation’s capital. SEEK job ads were also trending up in Auckland, Otago, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty. “The market in Bay of Plenty is very buoyant right now,” says Kellie Hamlett, Director of Talent ID Recruitment, which is based in Rotorua. “A lot of people from Auckland are moving here because housing prices are lower and people are realising that they can combine their career with the wonderful lifestyle that the region offers.”

Meanwhile, the Southland region saw a decline in job ads in July 2016 and the Canterbury region was also down year-on-year. “The Canterbury labour market has been subdued since March 2015 – almost 18 months,” says Faulding. “The job market in this region was supported by the earthquake rebuild; however, with that slowing, we’ve seen low year-on-year job ad volumes.”

How will Canterbury perform next month and which industries will be out in front across the country? We’ll keep you informed with the latest employment trends.

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