SEEK NZ Employment Report - A month of two halves - restrictions severely impact job ad numbers

OVERVIEW OF AUGUST 2021:

STATE OF THE NATION:

  • SEEK job ads were down by 12% month-on-month (m/m).
  • SEEK job ads were up by 57% in August 2021 when compared to August 2020 (y/y) and were up 11% when compared to August 2019.
  • Applications per job ad fell 6% m/m.
  • The top four industries showing the biggest decline m/m are Trades and Services (-18%), Hospitality & Tourism (-29%), Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics (-13%) and Retail & Consumer Services (-18%).

STATE OF THE REGIONS:

  • All regions saw a m/m decline in job ad numbers.
  • Job ad volume declined the most in Auckland (-12%), Canterbury (-12%) and Wellington (-9%) m/m.

STATE OF THE NATION: A MONTH OF TWO HALVES – RESTRICTIONS SEVERELY IMPACT JOB AD NUMBERS

The latest SEEK Employment Report sees an end to a run of five consecutive months with record breaking job ad numbers across New Zealand.

Rob Clark, Country Manager, SEEK NZ comments: “In August, the reintroduction of an alert Level 4 lockdown came into place across the country. Unsurprisingly, this had a swift and extreme impact to the number of new jobs posted on seek.co.nz.

“Looking at the weekly job ad volumes, there was a 20% drop in job ad numbers compared to the week before August 18 and a further 12% in the last week of August, resulting in a 12% drop overall from July to August.

“There had been five consecutive months of the highest job ad volume ever on seek.co.nz but despite this decline job ads are up 11% when compared to the same month in 2019. When looking back at previous lockdowns, new job opportunities return to the site quickly after restrictions ease.

”If we compare the three weeks since August 18 2021, to the first three weeks of the pandemic in 2020, the difference is quite encouraging. In 2020 job ads dropped by 73% in those first few weeks. Compared to this time around, job ads have dropped by 25%, and we are already seeing signs of recovery as restrictions ease.

“Applications per job ad also fell further in August seeing a drop of 6%, given the impact restrictions had during the month. I am not surprised to see applications decline too as candidates hold tight before making any career moves.”

Figure 1: SEEK NZ national job ads for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Table 1: National and major regions job ad growth/decline comparing August 2021 to: i) July 2021 (m/m) ii) August 2020 (y/y) and iii) August 2019 – all regions listed in table at the end of this release.

Figure 2: Weekly national job ad growth / decline indexed to week 1, 2021.

STATE OF THE REGIONS: RESTRICTIONS IMPACT JOB ADVERTISING ACROSS ALL THE REGIONS

Job ad data in August told a similar story across all the regions in New Zealand.

Rob Clark continues: “Every region experienced a month-on-month decline in August. The larger metropolitan areas of Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury had job ad volume decline the most in terms of actual job number, 4%, 15% and 5% respectively. However, all three regions still have more jobs ads than two years ago. This is true for the majority of regions too.”

“Looking ahead, with Auckland’s alert level 4 extending into September, I’d expect further reductions to job ad numbers for the city.”

“As the majority of the country enter alert level 2, it will be interesting to see if job ad volumes recover as restrictions ease in September.”

Figure 3: National SEEK NZ Job Ad percentage change by region (August 2021 vs July 2021)

STATE OF THE INDUSTRIES: THE CUSTOMER-FACING ROLES IMPACTED THE MOST

Hiring for customer facing roles is impacted earliest when restrictions come into place.

Rob Clark continues: “When lockdowns are imposed it is the usual suspects, in terms of industries, that are impacted the first and hardest. The four most impacted industries are Trades & Services down by 18%, Hospitality & Tourism down by 29%, Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics down by 13% and Retail & Consumer Services down by 18% month-on-month.

“With the reduction of customer facing roles being advertised, the industry with the most roles available right now on seek.co.nz is Information & Communication Technology which has over 3,000 roles available. Trades and Services, and Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics still have over 2,000 positions being advertised, despite showing a decline this month.

“Roles within the Banking & Finance industry increased 7% month-on-month –the only industry nationally that experienced a positive change in August. Looking at the types of roles being advertised within this industry we can see the increase is coming from client services and mortgage roles, which aligns to the real estate boom we are experiencing.”

Some roles in Information & Communication Technology, Trades & Services and Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics include:

  • Information & Communication Technology: with roles for business and systems analysts, developers and programmers, help desk & IT support, testing & quality assurance and software engineers.
  • Trades & Services: with roles for automotive trades, electricians, labourers, technicians and building trades.
  • Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics: with roles for assembly and process work, machine operators, road transport, warehouse, storage & distribution and couriers, drivers & postal services.

Figure 4: National SEEK NZ Job Ad percentage change by industry (August 2021 vs July 2021)

Table 2: National and regional job ad growth/decline comparing August 2021 to: i) July 2021 (y/y); ii) August 2020 (m/m) and; iii) August 2019

MEDIA NOTE: When reporting SEEK NZ data, we request that you attribute SEEK NZ as the source and refer to SEEK NZ as an employment marketplace.

Click for the latest SEEK Employment data or for more employment insights or career advice please visit SEEK’s Hiring Advice or SEEK's Career Advice.

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