Demand for talent hotting up in New Zealand

New Zealand’s employment market continued its strong performance in March with SEEK job ads rising by 11.3% year-on-year. Growth was experienced across the majority of industries and experts say demand for talent in hotting up.

The good news also extended to Canterbury, where job ads were on the rise. “In trend terms, job ads in Canterbury grew at 0.9% month-on-month and annual growth returned to positive territory for the first time in just over two years,” says Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand.

Steve Jackson, Chief Operating Officer of recruitment firm Madison, describes the market across New Zealand as buoyant. “There was a significant demand for labour in the first quarter of the year and, as a result, lots of recruitment activity,” he says. “Currently we’re seeing no sign of this demand abating.”


Industries on the rise

Job ads for New Zealand’s booming hospitality and tourism industry continued to grow in March, rising by 34% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $52,057. Data from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment shows international visitor arrivals were up by 11% for the year ending February 2017 and this continues to drive demand for talent.

Kate Ross, Director of Kinetic Recruitment, says that while the hospitality market is growing, there is also an increase in candidates, which is good news for employers. “We’re seeing greater interest among people wanting to move into the industry,” she says.

The healthcare and medical industry also experienced in growth in March. Job ads were up by 30% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $75,252. “There's a lot of activity in the market,” says Ross. “Small businesses are growing and adding staff and new businesses are popping up as well. We've got a couple of large clients who have just opened new offices Auckland.”

In New Zealand’s construction industry, job ads rose by 15% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $102,518. Jackson says the growth in construction is having a flow-on effect to other industries, including accounting. SEEK job ads for the accounting industry increased by 8% and the average advertised salary was $79,183. “We’ve seen an increase in demand for accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll professionals required to manage the financial side of large workforces associated with resourcing these construction projects,” he says.

Job ads in the marketing and communications industry were also up by 3% and the average advertised salary was $78,076. “A lot of businesses are really focusing on digital at the moment,” says Ross. “There's so much change happening out there in the way businesses are promoting themselves through digital media and so people are bringing a lot of specialisation to roles. Rather than someone who can do a broad brush of marketing tasks, companies are now bringing in people for very specific digital roles.”



A slip for two sectors

Only two sectors experienced a year-on-year decline in SEEK job ads in March. Government and defence was down by 8% and the average advertised salary was $79,897. Meanwhile banking and financial services declined by 13% and the average advertised salary was $84,730.

“It's quite a stagnant market in banking right now,” says Ross. “When people are leaving it's often at mid-level roles and below, and they are not necessarily being replaced. This is even the case with support roles, such as executive assistants. Operations are becoming much leaner and there is also more automation in the industry.”



Trends across the regions

Auckland, Waikato, Otago and Bay of Plenty continued to record high levels of job ads relative to the past five years and this trend has been increasing over the past four months.

In Marlborough, job ads are at strong levels relative to the past five years and this has remained steady over the past four months. In Wellington, there have been moderate levels of job advertising relative to recent history and this trend has remained quite flat over the past four months. Meanwhile, job ad levels in Taranki remain weak relative to the past five years, however there have been encouraging signs of recovery over the past four months.



Attracting the best talent

The competition for talent is strong and Jackson says companies need to refine their recruitment processes is stay ahead of the game.

“Talented candidates tend to understand their value and have requirements beyond the salary package on offer,” he says. “This applies across industries and business functions.  If your organisation offers interesting benefits beyond the dollars, such as the often-requested flexible working arrangements, make sure to communicate this through your employment branding activities and any candidate attraction strategies.”

Jackson adds that the recruitment process must be smooth. “Make it easy, swift and digital where appropriate, but include plenty of human interaction in the right places.”