Job ad growth continues in New Zealand
New Zealand’s employment market showed no sign of cooling down in the last month of summer. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads were on the rise in February and growth was spread across the country.

Opportunities on SEEK rose by 7.4% year-on-year and competition for talent remains strong. The unemployment rate dropped to just 4.5% at the end of last year – this is the lowest it’s been since December 2008. Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose in March, suggesting a positive sentiment among New Zealanders.

Pete Macauley, Regional Director of Michael Page New Zealand, says the good news looks set to continue for the broader economy.

“The Michael Page New Zealand Salary Benchmark 2018 anticipates continuous economic growth buoyed by historically high net immigration and housing wealth gains, both of which spur increased levels of consumption,” he says.

Construction on the rise

The trades and services industry was out in front in February with 20% job ad growth on SEEK compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $60,917.

New Zealand’s construction boom is leading to greater demand for industry talent. The ‘Future demand for construction workers’ report, released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), predicts the nationwide increase in construction investment will peak at $42 billion in 2020 and that this will boost demand for construction-related occupations to at least the end of 2022.

The latest data from SEEK shows opportunities in the construction industry were also up by 7% year-on-year in February and the average advertised salary was $103,174. Low levels of candidate availability in the industry relative to the past five years also means employers may need to work a little harder to stand out to job seekers.

Meanwhile, engineering recorded a 2% lift and the average advertised salary was $92,041. Candidate availability remains high relative to the past five years and the level has remained stable over the past four months

Digital demands

Digital technology is continuing to have an impact on industries across New Zealand, such as retail and consumer products. The sector grew by 11% year-on-year in February and the average advertised salary was $53,070.

“Part of the surge in demand for professionals with specialist technology and digital skills is a result of the online shopping revolution in full swing,” says Macauley.

Total e-commerce spending across New Zealand also grew by 11% in February compared to the same time last year. Data from Bank of New Zealand shows annual online spending across major retail categories is now estimated at $4.2 billion.

“To support the growth of these digital platforms, user interface / user experience designers and digital marketing managers with strong technical skills will have positions open to them,” adds Macauley.

The marketing and communications industry is also continuing its digital transformation. The industry recorded 11% year-on-year growth in February and the average advertised salary was $82,601.

“Strong marketers will be in high demand and well positioned to pick up roles in 2018,” says Macauley.

“We expect to see digital transformation across all verticals and significant demand for technical skills with implementation and delivery experience.”

Growth across the regions

All regions experienced annual growth in February, with Northland and Southland the top performers.

Wellington and West Coast have recorded high levels of job ad growth relative to the past five years and the trend has been continuing over the past four months.

While Auckland and Canterbury have also seen high levels of growth relative to the past five years, the trend has been quite flat over the past four months.

Competing for talent

Although applications per job ad increased moderately in trend terms, employers may need to lift their game to attract the best in the current market.

Macauley says talent attraction may continue to challenge employers throughout the year and that now is the time to reconsider their value proposition.

“Employers who want to secure the best talent should consider adding to salary packages in more inventive ways,” he says.

“It would also be wise to consult with your candidates on their longer-term career plans to assure them of a development path for them in the company. Addressing job satisfaction and work-life balance will be another key to standing out as an employer.”

With New Zealand’s employment market showing little sign of slowing down, demand for talent looks set to remain hot. A strong employee value proposition and a well-oiled recruitment process may help you keep ahead of the competition.