Job growth remains strong across New Zealand
The New Year started on a positive note for the New Zealand job market. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ad growth remained strong and the majority of industries were on the rise.  

There were 5% more job ads on SEEK in January compared to the same time last year. The average advertised salaries also saw a boost. “An upward trend established in mid-2015 stabilised in recent months but the beginning of this year saw a lift in average advertised salaries,” says Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand. “While salary isn’t everything for candidates, employers need to ensure that they remain competitive.”

Industries on the rise

Jason Walker, New Zealand Managing Director of recruitment firm Hays, says 2017 got off to an interesting start. “Dynamic factors have added some volatility to the market recently,” he explains. “One example is the Wellington earthquake before Christmas - not a lot of recruitment was happening at the end of December or the first couple of weeks in January. But when we hit the middle of the month, we started to see a lot of activity in the market.”

The consulting and strategy industry was out in front in January with job ads rising by 56% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $96,184. Walker says consulting talent is in demand as companies plan for the year ahead.

“A lot of businesses bring in consultants and analysts to help develop their growth strategies for the year,” he explains. “Change is the new constant. There are disruptive threats from new technology as well as opportunities to move into new sectors as more revenue enters the marketplace, so we’re seeing more consultants engaged to help strategic planning in these areas.”

In another sign of a positive employment market, the human resources and recruitment industry saw a 35% increase in job ads compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $84,559.

“Employers are putting a strong focus on HR talent with leadership and development skills,” says Walker. “More organisations are looking at a diverse pool of talent. If candidates have the essential qualities, such as the right attitude, ambition and aptitude, employers will be more willing to invest in training to get them where they need to be.”

New Zealand’s construction industry continued to show strength in January. Job ads were up by 13% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $99,421. In related industries, trades and services rose by 12% and the average advertised salary was $60,089. Meanwhile, design and architecture was up by 11% and the average advertised salary was $81,196.

Regan Higgins, Director at recruitment firm Franklin Smith, notes that Wellington is showing more signs of demand across these industries, however Auckland still leads the way. “It’s head and shoulders above anywhere,” he says. “It’s busy across all the building industries – from construction management roles right through to carpenters and labourers. Companies are needing to think outside the box in terms of candidate skill sets if they want to bring in more talent.”

Decline in Banking & Financial Services

While the majority of industries saw year-on-year increases in job ads in January, some experienced a decline. There was a small dip of 3% for retail and consumer products and the average advertised salary was $53,724. Information and communications technology also declined by 9% and the average advertised salary was $93,530.

The banking and financial services industry was down by 10% and the average advertised salary was $89,892. Walker says the restructure of retail branches in larger banks has had an impact on demand. “There’s also been a greater focus on technology and mobile applications and this has reduced the demand for talent on the customer service side of the industry,” he adds.

Trends across the regions

Most regions across New Zealand are experiencing high levels of advertising relative to the past five years and there has been an upward trend over the past four months. This is the case for places such as Auckland, Waikato, Marlborough and Bay of Plenty.

Christchurch has also seen high levels of job ads relative to the past five years, however the region has experienced a downward trend over the past four months. “The region has been pretty hit-and-miss,” says Walker. “Much of the residential re-build work is complete now but we are about to start phase two of the reconstruction of Christchurch, which focuses on the CBD. A lot of construction projects will be kicking off after Easter, so we may begin to see more growth.”

The New Year got off to a good start with job ads up year-on-year across most regions and industries. Walker says employers should take time to review their recruitment strategies for the months ahead. “Streamline your processes,” he says. “When you find a great candidate, don’t hesitate in making an offer.”