Waikato may be one of the richest agricultural regions in the world but the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows an increase in job ads across a range of industries in this lush North Island location. As the region continues to benefit from its proximity to Auckland, experts say candidates can expect even more opportunities on the horizon.
Waikato is known as the agricultural powerhouse of New Zealand. Approximately 30% of all dairy herds in the country are found in Waikato and the region produces more than a quarter of the country’s milk supply. While milk prices have been volatile in recent times, global milk prices rose in September, signaling positive news for the Waitako region.
SEEK job ads for the region’s Farming, Animals and Conservative industry increased by 13% year-on-year in October, however there were plenty of industries that saw even greater growth. The level of job ads across the region are high relative to the past five years and, in good news for candidates, they have also been experiencing an upward trend over the past four months.
- The Waikato attraction. Hamilton, Waikato’s most populous city, is only one-and-a-half hours’ drive from the thriving metropolis of Auckland and this is proving to be beneficial to the region’s growth. “We’re seeing a lot of employees and residents leaving Auckland due to high housing prices and moving to the Waikato region,” says Pete McCauley, Executive Director of recruitment firm Michael Page. “This is creating business opportunities, which is good news for candidates.”
The development of the inland port and logistics facility in Ruakura is also expected to bring new jobs to the east of Hamilton and will be a key hub for the North Island’s freight system.
McCauley adds this may be a reason for the growth in job ads for Waikato’s Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics industry, which increased by 11% year-on-year in October.
- Construction on the rise. With Waikato’s population predicted to grow by about 40 per cent between 2013 and 2063, the construction industry is experiencing increased activity. “There’s an influx of people coming from Auckland and building is booming,” says Phill Van Syp, Managing Director at 1st Call Recruitment. “It’s not only residential building that is growing across the region - we’re also seeing a number of infrastructure projects”.
Job ads for Waikato’s Construction industry increased by 71% year-on-year while related industries, such as Trades and Services, grew by 32%. Meanwhile, job ads for Design and Architecture were up by 9% compared to the same time last year and Engineering increased by 53%.
Van Syp says Waikato’s population growth is also leading to growing demand for healthcare services. SEEK job ads for the region’s Healthcare and Medical roles increased by 17% year-on-year. The increase in population may also be good news for the region’s Retail and Consumer Products industry, which saw year-on-year growth in job opportunities of 15%.
Job ads for Human Resources and Recruitment were up by 21% year-on-year and McCauley notes that this is a good sign of activity within the broader market. Sales roles also grew by 17% while CEO and General Management roles increased by 40%.
- A slip in some industries. Although job ads in Waikato have been experiencing an upward trend in recent months, some industries saw a year-on-year decline in October. Job ads for Science and Technology slipped by 13% year-on-year while Call Centre and Customer Service job ads were down by 30% over the same period. Job ads for the region’s Banking and Financial Services industry also saw a year-on-year decline of 13%. Van Syp says this may be due to an increase in automation. “We’re also seeing more bank branches closing,” he notes.
Waikato’s Government and Defence industry also experienced a year-on-year decline in job ads of 42%. “I don’t think there’s been a reduction in government roles,” says Van Syp. “I think it’s more a case of people tending to stay in roles rather than moving on. The industry tends to be quite stagnant in the region.”
Despite a decline in job ads across some industries, experts say the appetite for talent in Waikato remains strong – and this means more opportunities for candidates. “Hamilton is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities and we’re seeing good growth in a lot of industries, as well as positive signs for the agriculture sector,” says Van Syp. “If you have the right skills and the right attitude, you will get snapped up in Waikato.”