SEEK Employment Trends: signs of strength seen across New Zealand’s employment market

With the New Zealand economy showing continuing signs of strength, optimism is in the air. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows further growth in job ads and experts are predicting even more activity in the coming months.

Job ads on SEEK rose by 9.9% in August 2016 compared to the same time last year. Increases were shared across the majority of industries and regions. “A recent headline in the New Zealand Herald described the country as having ‘rock star economy status’,” says Jason Walker, Managing Director for New Zealand at recruitment firm Hays. “This is fueling optimism in the market and signals busy times ahead.”

Job ads on the rise

New Zealand’s buoyant construction industry shows little sign of abating. SEEK job ads grew for the sector by 13% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $96,240 in August 2016. A recent report from the New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment indicates that a nationwide increase in construction investment, which is expected to peak at $37 billion in 2017, will increase demand for construction-related occupations to at least the end of 2021. The report shows that demand is projected to increase by 10% between 2015 and 2021. This equates to approximately 49,000 new roles, bringing the total to 539,500.

“Much of the construction activity is centred around Auckland; however, Wellington is also starting to see growth in commercial construction and infrastructure,” says Walker.

In related industries, trades and services also experienced an increase in the number of SEEK job ads in August 2016, rising by 27% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $58,375. “With our expanding population through natural growth and net migration, trades and services roles are in high demand across New Zealand to accommodate our rising personal, residential and commercial needs,” explains Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand.

While construction-related industries showed strength in August 2016, the consulting and strategy industry led the way, with 70% more job ads on SEEK than the same time last year. The average advertised salary for the industry was $93,345. Walker says many of the roles within consulting and strategy are on a contract basis. “They tend to be tied to projects,” he explains. “A range of project roles, such as IT and analyst roles, are often classified under consulting and strategy.”

SEEK job ads also increased across the call centre and customer service industry. They grew by 11% year-on-year in August 2016 and the average advertised salary was $46,796. Walker is also noting a shift in salaries for the sector. “We are seeing growing demand and, as a result, salaries are starting to pick up,” he says.

New Zealand’s information and communications technology industry experienced a year-on-year growth in SEEK job ads. They grew by 8% and the average advertised salary was $92,893. SEEK job ads for the hospitality and tourism industry also saw a year-on-year increase of 29% and the average advertised salary was $52,572.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing, transport and logistics industry saw an increase of 24% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $67,115. “Our country’s exporting culture is a likely driver of growth in this industry because New Zealand companies are now tapping into the overseas markets to grow their businesses,” notes Faulding. “They are investing in new technology and logistics to distribute their products efficiently to be competitive.”

A slip in two sectors

Not all industries experienced year-on-year growth in August 2016. SEEK job ads in the sports and recreation sector were down by 8% and the average advertised salary was $60,729. Meanwhile, SEEK job ads in the banking and financial services industry declined by 10% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $86,432. Ben Pearson, General Manager – Wellington of Beyond Recruitment, explains that while there have been a number of large projects within the sector over the past five years, many of these have come to an end and this may explain the slip in job ads. “It’s more of a ‘business as usual’ environment,” he says. “There’s also a bit of pressure on headcount numbers within banks.”

Trends across the regions

Faulding says it is encouraging to see New Zealand’s job market experiencing continued year-on-year growth across the majority of regions. “The Auckland and Wellington regions have again performed well in August, with job ads up 8.8% and 10.4% year-on-year respectively,” she says. “However, the Canterbury market remains subdued post its reconstruction-driven peak in late 2014, with job ads down 7.1% year on-year.”

SEEK job ads in Otago, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay are also trending higher, while Southland experienced a decline.

Overall August 2016 delivered positive news for the New Zealand job market and the results are predicted to continue. As a result, experts warn employers may need to work harder to attract and retain the best talent. “We’re in for rosy times,” says Walker. “However, it will be challenging from a resourcing perspective.”

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