Senior leadership roles on the rise in New Zealand
If you’re looking to attract the best talent, experts say it’s time to sharpen up your recruitment strategy. With year-on-year growth in job ads on SEEK, competition for talent may be about to heat up.

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads grew by 9.7% year-on-year. Janet Faulding, SEEK New Zealand General Manager, says growth is also being seen across non-full time roles. “We’re noticing a strong trend for part time and casual or vacation work,” she says. “These kinds of non-full time roles can provide flexibility for both employers and candidates and it will be interesting to watch how this trend evolves over the coming months.”

Industries on the rise

Job ads for senior leadership roles were on the rise in April with CEO and general management growing by 13%. Jason Walker, Managing Director at recruitment firm Hays says this may be due to more international companies branching into New Zealand. “There is an increase in Australian companies seeking opportunities in New Zealand, so they are looking for country general managers and sales directors,” he says. “They are coming over the ditch and seeing that the New Zealand market is looking pretty good. We’re seeing an influx of construction and infrastructure companies.”

The construction industry continued its strong performance with job ads growing by 10% and the average advertised salary was $102,715. Walker notes that reconstruction after the recent Wellington earthquake is creating greater demand across the industry. “The Wellington earthquake is starting to really dig into the overall New Zealand construction candidate market because right now they're pulling down a number of buildings,” he says. “We're working with demolition companies and they're pulling down 15 buildings. That's guaranteed to escalate as they find more engineering and structural defects in buildings that will also need to be pulled down.

“The catalyst for any sort of employment growth in New Zealand is construction because it's such a big piece of our market and industry,” adds Walker. Auckland is also just bursting at the seams in terms of increased population and that's really having an impact on construction and infrastructure.”

The engineering industry saw an 11% rise in job ads year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $89,459. Trades and services grew by 5% and the average advertised salary was $59,444. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism industry continued to show strength with job ads rising by 10% and the average advertised salary was $52,556.

A slip in some sectors

While the majority of industries experienced year-on-year growth in April, some saw a decline. Administration and office support was down by 8% and the average advertised salary was $51,103. John Harland, Director of ERG Recruitment, says this may be due to restructures within some companies. “Those companies that are looking to increase efficiency or productivity may be streamlining administration resources wherever they can,” he says. 

Job ads for accounting also declined by 9% and the average advertised salary was $78,166. Meanwhile, banking and financial services was down by 14% and the average advertised salary was $81,085. “We’re seeing a lot of bank branches closing across New Zealand, particularly in rural areas where they are just keeping an ATM in the town,” says Harland. “There is much less human contact in banking these days.”

Trends across the regions

Canterbury led the way in April with job ads rising by 3.5% month-on-month. “There was a slower period across Christchurch when most of the residential rebuild projects came to an end but now we're seeing it kick off again as they're starting the CBD commercial rebuild,” says Walker.

Auckland, Otago and Waikato have all seen high levels of job ads relative to the past five years and there has been an upward trend over the past four months. While job ad levels have been moderate in Wellington relative to the past five years, the region has also been experiencing an upward trend in recent months.

Attracting the best talent

As the demand for candidates continues, Harland says companies should work on their brand and make it easier for talent to learn about your employee value proposition. “Think about your website and how you’re presenting yourself to potential candidates,” he says. “If it currently takes five clicks to get to your careers page, bring it down to two clicks so it’s easier for people to learn why your company represents a good career choice.”

Walker says employers cannot afford to be reactive in the current market. “You need to start planning for the future and have a strategy in place about how you develop and train people,” he says. “A workforce plan should also include how you will retain your talent after recruitment.