NZ job ad market posts 6.7% growth
Competition in New Zealand’s employment market shows no sign of slowing down with the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends revealing year-on-year job ad growth in May.

Opportunities on SEEK rose 6.7% in May compared to the same time last year. While some industries, such as sales, and marketing and communications saw a small year-on-year decline, the majority of sectors recorded a further boost.

Jason Walker, New Zealand Managing Director of Hays, says competition for talent across New Zealand is getting tougher. “As more organisations undergo digital transformation, they are discovering a need for different types of skills and this means candidates have more choice. Employers are looking for talent with analytical skills and strong problem solvers who can help them navigate change.”

Trends across the industries

Science and Technology led the way for job ad growth in May. It recorded a year-on-year lift of 24% and the average advertised salary was $78,755. This was followed by growth in education and training, which recorded a boost of 21% and the average advertised salary was $70,186.

Trades & Services continued to deliver the highest volume of new job ads on SEEK in May. They grew by 7% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $62,291. Meanwhile, the construction industry remained a strong performer with a further lift of 8% compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $105,146.

Ben Pearson, General Manager – Wellington at Beyond Recruitment, says activity in the trades and construction market continues to be strong.

“We specialise in ‘white collar’ construction roles, such as project managers, and there is always significant demand,” he says. “I suspect the further increase may be tied to a new financial year and release of budgets for projects, which in turn usually creates more jobs.”

Government & Defence also experienced growth in May with a year-on-year lift of 15% and the average advertised salary was $83,088. “Demand is being fuelled by changes to government policy, driving more change projects in the public sector,” says Pearson.  “This is increasing skills demand.”

Digital transformation is continuing to have an impact on industries such as accounting. The latest data from SEEK shows accounting job ads were up by 8% and the average advertised salary was $78,595. Pearson says employers are now looking for skills beyond traditional number crunching.

“Automation is leading to higher demand for strategic and analytical roles, such as a lot more business partnering and strategic financial analyst positions,” he says. “In general there is a demand for higher quality accountants who are able to provide sound business judgement and proposals while still upholding accuracy.”

Strategies for attraction

In a competitive market, attracting talent does not begin and end with the interview process. Walker says it must be part of a broad business strategy that is ‘always on’.

“Companies must be visible in the market if they want to attract talent,” he says. “Employer brand is so important. Build content on your website so potential candidates can find you, maximise your presence on social media and develop brand advocates among your employees.”

Walker adds that employers should look at what potential candidates want from an employer and ensure that they promote this as part of their brand.

“Employees leave a business when there is a lack of career development opportunities,” he says. “Salary is also a demotivator if you get it wrong, so make sure you are benchmarking your salaries. Flexibility is also important today and people will leave a company if they feel this is lacking. When you know what people want and don’t want from an employer, use this information to sell yourself as the right choice.”

Pearson says employers must ensure that they deliver on their promises. “Make sure the employment value proposition you promised at interview stage is evident and delivering for the new recruit,” he says. “Broken interview promises are a common on-boarding issue leading to exits in the first six months of tenure.”

As New Zealand’s employment market continues to show even more demand for talent, organisations with a strong employer brand are set to attract the best candidates. Those that deliver on their promise are set to retain them.