New Zealand job market begins new year on a high
New Zealand’s employment market began 2018 on a positive note, with sentiment looking up right across the country.

Consumer confidence grew in January after three months of decline and the Government posted an unexpected operating surplus. The positivity extended to the employment market with SEEK recording an 8.1% increase in job ads compared to the same time last year.

“The mood is generally very positive in the market right now,” says Lee Tyrell, Director of recruitment firm Franklin Smith.

“The construction industry remains quite strong and the property market is doing well. It’s been a very good start to the year.”

Construction retains its strength

The majority of industries recorded an increase in opportunities on SEEK in January. The mining, resources and energy industry was out in front with job ads rising 84% year-on-year, however this was coming off a low base. The average advertised salary for the sector was $91,944.

The manufacturing, transport and logistics industry also delivered positive results with job ads rising 30% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $65,519.

Strength in New Zealand’s construction industry continued into the New Year with a 19% lift in job ads on SEEK and the average advertised salary was $103,048. In fact, construction recorded the highest average advertised salaries of any industry in January.

“We’re seeing good demand for project management across the industry,” says Tyrell.

“Fletcher Building, which is the country’s largest construction company, has been recording a loss in recent times but we’re not seeing that translating across the broader sector in terms of demand for talent. A lot of the existing infrastructure projects still have years to go until completion.”

John Harland, Director of ERG Recruitment Group, says a tightening of migration may lead to further demand for skills in areas such as construction.

Some Government projects, such as housing and infrastructure, will likely suffer unless there is a flip-flop on policy,” he says.

“The construction boom has put enormous pressure on skills in these areas.”

A small slip for accounting

Only five industries experienced a year-on-year decline in job ads in January. The decline was a minimal 1% for accounting and the average advertise salary was $78,135. Banking and financial services also saw a 1% decline and the average advertised salary was $85,763.

The same small slip in opportunities was recorded by the design and architecture industry and the average advertised salary was $85,965.

Meanwhile, the advertising arts and media industry saw a 7% year-on-year decline and the average advertised salary was $72,907. The insurance and superannuation industry recorded slip of 11% ad the average advertised salary as $71,282.

Trends across the regions

Almost all regions saw strong annual growth in January. Southland and Northland were out in front, with opportunities growing 24.4% and 23.7% respectively.

Bay of Plenty and West Coast have recorded high levels of job ads relative to the past five years and the trend has been looking up for the past four months.

While Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have also recorded high levels of job ads, the trend has been quite flat over recent months.

Attracting the best talent

In the current competitive market, employees may need to reconsider their recruitment strategy if they wish to attract the interest of top candidates.

“Employers need to be able to clearly articulate why they are an employer of choice,” says Tyrell.

“If you are struggling to answer this question, you need to go back to the drawing board. In the current market, you really want candidates to walk out of an interview thinking ‘wow, I want to work with this company’.”

The beginning of a new year is also a wise time to review the careers section of your website, says Tyrell.

“Every candidate ‘Googles’ a company before they apply for a role, so make sure you are using your website to advertise yourself as an employer of choice.”

Tyrell also suggests reviewing job descriptions to ensure they clearly explain the requirements of the job.

“Some companies just have generic job descriptions but it’s really worth taking time to include more detail,” he says.

“Candidates may want to take a job description home and review it to make sure it’s the right role for them.”

New Zealand’s employment market started the New Year on a positive note. Competition for talent may be about to hot up, so now may be the time to polish up your value proposition.