The human resources and recruitment industry is booming and recorded growth of 15.3% in 2017. The positive results were experienced across the majority of regions in New Zealand.
According to Julia Stones, Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) National President, as organisations grow and reach critical mass, businesses that previously didn’t have dedicated in-house recruitment or HR functions will make the decision to take these professionals on board.
“If you have growth in an industry, you will need to place more focus on finding talent to support that growth,” says Stones.
"It is not surprising to see an increase in HR and recruitment roles in an increasingly talent-short market like New Zealand. Sourcing talent and retaining it is an acutely critical success factor for all organisations."
SEEK data reveals that the human resources and recruitment industry recorded growth across much of New Zealand. This growth was primarily driven by Auckland (7.9% growth) and Wellington (3.1%).
SEEK data also reveals that industry growth was primarily driven by Agency Recruitment (6.1%) followed by Consulting & Generalist HR (5.2%) and Internal Recruitment (2.4%).
The data tells more than one story and Stones highlights the increase in job numbers in Agency Recruitment as a standout figure for 2017. She suggests this increased demand for external recruiters may be a result of in-house recruitment in some industries still struggling to source candidates in increasingly talent-short markets.
“Sometimes the in-house recruitment function isn’t able to access the talent directly and has to rely more on external agencies to widen their talent pool,” she says.
New Zealand suffers from a significant skills shortfall in the trades and services industry.
The current shortage amounts to around 60,000 workers in the building and construction industry alone, says Warwick Quinn, Chief Executive of BCITO, the largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships in New Zealand.
SEEK data shows the industry recorded job growth of 16.9% from January to November 2017. This growth was primarily driven by Auckland, with the city accounting for 56% of all growth in this industry in 2017.
The huge housing boom is driving the growth with Building Trades (2.3%) and Labouring (2.5%) leading the way in terms of industry growth.
According to Quinn, New Zealand needs to continue to build more than 30,000 new homes each year.
“We estimate that half of the jobs shortfall to be for qualified trades workers. That translates into great opportunities for those considering construction as a career.”
The building and construction industry is becoming increasingly specialised, says Quinn.
As a result, the BCITO is in the process of launching micro credentials, which will be bite-sized qualifications for people who work in, for example, specialised areas of construction such as window installation. These micro credentials will be able to be built on by those who want to move into wider fields, which will help make these jobs more attractive.
Greig Epps, Industry Relationship Manager at the Motor Trade Association, says the 23.7% growth in Automotive Trades is directly related to the growth in vehicle sales and the age of the fleet – both of which drive demand for repairs.
“There has been unprecedented growth in the number of cars coming into New Zealand over the past five years,” says Epps.
“These vehicles are getting ever more complex with safety and driver assistance technologies, and the increase in the uptake of electric vehicles is indicative of big changes ahead in the industry.
“This means automotive industry employers need a skilled workforce and it is a highly competitive industry.”
In 2017, the manufacturing, transport and logistics industry recorded growth of 30.1%. There was positive growth in all regions, except Gisborne, which had a year-on-year decline of 4.5%.
The majority of growth was experienced in Auckland, which contributed 14.4% to the total growth, followed by Canterbury (4.3%) and Waikato (3.6%).
Catherine Beard, Executive Director of ExportNZ and ManufacturingNZ at Business New Zealand, says the lower dollar has also helped boost the manufacturing industry.
“SEEK’s data confirms Business New Zealand’s own Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) data, which saw the industry in expansion mode throughout 2017,” she says.
One of the big factors behind the expansion is flourishing residential building and commercial construction in Auckland, Waikato and Christchurch, says Beard.
The softening dollar has been a bonus for manufacturers and helped boost exports making local companies more competitive in markets such as Australia, adds Beard. At the same time, the increase in confidence has led to innovation in the food and beverage sector in particular.
On a macro level, says Beard, New Zealand has had good GDP growth and the economy is expanding.
“It is like a virtuous circle. If you are adding jobs to the economy consumers buy more and borrow for housing,” she says.
At a job level, SEEK data reveals that industry growth was primarily driven by roles in Warehousing, Storage & Distribution (7.4%), Machine Operation (3.8%) and Assembly & Process Work (3.3%).
Transport and logistics, is also thriving and growing in New Zealand, says Ken Shirley, Chief Executive of Road Transport Forum New Zealand.
The strong growth in the New Zealand economy corresponds to significant growth in freight, he says.
“By 2042 domestic freight is expected to increase by 60% from what it is today. This means there will be significant long-term labour pressure.”
The New Zealand engineering industry recorded growth of 14.1% in 2017, but experts warn that the industry is struggling to meet the talent demands.
This growth was widespread across the country, with the most significant growth recorded in Auckland, which grew by 8% and accounted for 57% of all growth in the engineering industry in 2017. Growth was experienced in all regions except Canterbury and Gisborne.
At a role level, the greatest growth experienced in Civil / Structural Engineering, which recorded 4.5% growth, followed by Maintenance (2.7%) and Mechanical Engineering (1.3%).
Brett Williams, Acting CEO at Engineering New Zealand, says there is a critical shortage of engineering talent.
One of the biggest issues in the engineering talent pipeline, says Williams is a lack of locally trained professionals.
“During the past 25 years, the number of engineers in New Zealand has grown by more than 26% but it’s not enough,” he says.
“Drilling down, just fewer than 5% of New Zealand’s graduates at bachelor’s level or higher were engineers in 2014, whereas the OECD norm is 12%.”
Further to this, Williams says that 18% of New Zealand graduates move abroad within a year of graduating. Within seven years, 35% of engineering graduates are overseas. Many fields of engineering are on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term and immediate skills shortage lists, he says.
Catherine Beard, Executive Director of ExportNZ and ManufacturingNZ at Business New Zealand, says the acute shortage of local and imported engineers to fill roles has led to the launch by of the engineering resource portal REE (Resources for Engineering Employers). The portal contains resources specifically targeted at recruiting, retaining and growing talent in the engineering sector.
Community services and development is one of the booming industries in New Zealand, with 41.3% growth recorded in 2017.
SEEK data shows positive job advertisement growth in all regions, except Tasman, which had a year-on-year decline of 13.5%. The biggest growth was recorded in Auckland (12.7%), Wellington (6.8%) and Canterbury (6.6%).
Roles with the most significant growth were in the field of Child Welfare, Youth & Family Support, which recorded 16.7% growth. This was followed by Aged & Disability Support (8.7%) and Housing & Homelessness Services (5.8%).
Significantly, Housing & Homelessness Services experienced 156.8% year-on-year growth, making it the fasting growing role within the industry.
Acute homelessness and child welfare issues in New Zealand are largely driving this growth, says Philippa Howden-Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington.
Howden-Chapman, co-author of the government-commissioned Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing Report 2018 says the previous government became concerned about both homelessness and the condition of housing in New Zealand and assigned significant funding to the sector.
The formation of Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children in 2017, which took over from Child Youth & Family (CYF), has resulted in a significant expansion of jobs in Child Welfare, Youth & Family Services.
“There is a real priority of this (new) government to reduce child poverty,” says Howden-Chapman.
Aged & Disability Support also recorded significant growth, with roles growing 26.3% year-on-year.
John Ryall, assistant national secretary of the E tū union, which represents Aged & Disability Support workers says much of the job advertisement growth is driven by rapidly increasing in-home support packages, changes to the government’s immigration policies and improved pay rates following the government’s pay equity settlement.