SEEK Employment Trends: positive news for New Zealand's employment market with the economy rapidly growing



New Zealand has one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world and this is having a positive impact on the employment market. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads were up by 6.5% year-on-year in September and the majority of industries were on the rise.


New Zealand’s economy grew at its fastest annual pace in two years last quarter. “The economy is doing very well, which is always good news for the employment market,” says Iain MacGibbon, Managing Director of recruitment firm Farrow Jamieson. “Much of the strength is reflected in the buoyant construction market.”

MacGibbon adds that the pool of candidates may soon widen due to more expats returning home. “A lot of Kiwis are coming home, particularly from mining areas in Western Australia,” he explains. “They are not returning for mining work but are looking to move into construction and engineering roles.”

Industries on the rise


The farming, animals and conservation industry led the way in September with job ads up by 58% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $67,670. Agriculture remains a significant economic earner for New Zealand and the country is the largest dairy and sheep meat exporter in the world. “The agriculture industry is gaining more strength and will always be a strong driver of the economy,” says MacGibbon.

New Zealand’s retail and consumer products industry also saw a 16% year-on-year increase in job and the average advertised salary was $50,662. Meanwhile, job ads for the hospitality and tourism sector were up by 7% and the average advertised salary was $51,648.  Janet Faulding, General Manager for SEEK New Zealand, notes that seasonal hiring across these two sectors helped increase advertising on SEEK in September. “We know that in September businesses are gearing up for the festive shopping and Summer holiday season,” she says. “They are advertising on SEEK now to get the employees they need to service the busy period. It’s a great time for jobseekers to be looking onsite.”

New Zealand construction industry continues to show strength. SEEK jobs for the industry were up by 11% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $98,169. “There is growth in residential construction and commercial construction is particularly strong in Auckland,” says MacGibbon. “I haven’t seen so many cranes on the skyline in a decade.”

Job ads in trades and services also grew by 12% and the average advertised salary was $59,526. Meanwhile, job ads for the design and architecture industry increased by 16% and the average advertised salary was $78,566. “The architecture industry is like the canary in the coal mine – when it shows signs of activity there is a flow on effect to construction,” says MacGibbon.

SEEK job ads for marketing and communications roles increased by 21% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $78,891. Consulting and strategy saw a year-on-year increase of 24% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $98,481. Leadership roles were also on the rise with job ads for CEO and general management growing by 23% compared to the same time last year. “We are seeing challenges at CEO level,” says MacGibbon. “A number of CEOs are from the GFC era when the focus was more on cost reduction. Now that the economy is strong, many are struggling with skills to expand their business. There is growing pressure from board level for CEOs to perform and this is creating more demand for roles in the market.”

Job ads for the accounting industry also saw a year-on-year increase of 10% and the average advertised salary was $76,249. Lisa Gray, New Zealand Director of recruitment firm Walker Andersen, says there is growing demand for management accountants and analysts. “There is a real focus on data analysis and we’re seeing good growth in this area,” she says.

A decline in five sectors


Only five sectors saw a year-on-year decline in job ads in September. Mining, resources and energy slipped by 10% and the average advertised salary was $86,509. The legal industry also saw a 10% decline and the average advertised salary was $79,339.

Job ads for banking and financial services were down by 5% and the average advertised salary was $81,127. MacGibbon notes this may be due to a review of cost structures in banking. “We’ve seen some branch closures and there is a growing focus on back office rather than front line roles,” he says. “There is also increasing automation in the industry.”

The information and communications technology industry also saw a year-on-year decline in job ads. They slipped by 5% and the average advertised salary was $92,937. Despite this, MacGibbon says the industry is performing well. “People have their head down and they’re working hard. We’re seeing good growth in the industry.”

Meanwhile, the insurance and superannuation industry also saw a 5% decline in job ads year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $72,125. Gray says the industry remains in a healthy position. “There’s good demand for technical roles, such as underwriting and brokerage.

Trends across the regions


Auckland continued to perform well with job ads rising by 7.5% year-on-year. Wellington has seen moderate levels of job ads relative to the past five years and has experienced an upward trend over the past 4 months. In September, job ads for the region were up by 5.6% year-on-year. Canterbury saw a decline of 5.5% year-on-year and while job ads have been strong relative to the past five years, they have been experiencing a downward trend over the past four months.

September delivered good news for the employment market with growth in SEEK job ads across the majority of industries. Let’s hope the positive results continue in the months ahead.