New Zealand jobs ads up by 17.3%

February delivered positive news for the employment market with a sharp rise in job ads on SEEK. Experts say competition for talent is about to hot up and a smooth recruitment process is essential to securing the best candidates.

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends show job ads were up by 17.3% compared to the same time last year. “Job ads in all regions except Canterbury rose in February in trend terms,” says SEEK New Zealand General Manager, Janet Faulding. “Even though advertising was down in Canterbury, the pace of decline is becoming milder, which is good news for the region.”

Growth is on the agenda for businesses across New Zealand. The Asia Pacific Small Business Survey 2016, commissioned by global accounting firm CPA Australia, shows that 71% per cent of New Zealand's small businesses expect to grow their operations this year and one in five reported hiring new staff in 2016.

“Small businesses make up the vast majority of enterprises in New Zealand and make a significant contribution to the economy,” says John Harland, Director at ERG Recruitment Group. “As they continue to grow, we’ll see greater competition for talent in the market.”


Manufacturing on the rise

Most industries saw year-on-year growth in SEEK job ads in February. Manufacturing, transport and logistics recorded a 26% lift and the average advertised salary was $64,905. Harland says this growth is a sign of a rebound from the global financial crisis. “Many factories took a real hit in the GFC and operations started to slow down,” he says. “They have rebounded now and this kind of growth in demand doesn’t surprise me.”

New Zealand’s construction industry continued to record growth in February with job ads up by 12% and the average advertised salary was $102,640. Meanwhile, engineering rose by 7% and the average advertised salary was $92,784. “New Zealand is part way through a massive infrastructure investment program,” explains Iain MacGibbon, Managing Director of recruitment firm Farrow Jamieson. “That include roads and bridges and it’s putting massive demand and pressure on engineering, design and actual construction industry.”



Consultants in demand

Consulting and strategy also experienced a 23% increase in job ads compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $98,118. “Companies are reviewing their options for growth,” says MacGibbon. “You can grow organically or you can buy another company and we are seeing quite a bit of takeover activity. This requires consulting expertise and that may be why we’re experiencing increases in this area.”

Job ads for hospitality and tourism also rose by 22% and the average advertised salary was $51,873. “Tourism has become a major export for New Zealand and a big contributor to our GDP,” says Harland. “Our problem is going to be maintaining efficient hotels around the country to accommodate the growth in tourism.”

February also delivered positive news for the administration and office support industry, which saw a 7% year-on-year increase in job ads and the average advertised salary was $51,099. “Growth in this area is definitely a reflection of growing business confidence,” says Harland.



A slip in some sectors

Not all industries experienced growth in February. Job ads for marketing and communications were down by 6% and the average advertised salary was $75,904. Advertising, arts and media saw a decline of 20% and the average advertised salary was $66,010.

Banking and financial services also saw a decline of 6% and the average advertised salary was $82,823. “Automation is having an impact on the banking industry and the cost of maintaining some of the services in rural areas is high,” says Harland. “We're seeing a reduction in branch networks throughout the country.”



Trends across the regions

Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Otago have all recorded high levels of job ads relative to the past five years and the trends has been rising for the past four months.

Job ads in Wellington have been moderate compared to the past five years and although job ads in Canterbury remain strong relative to the same period, there has been a downward trend over the past four months.



Candidates are confidence

MacGibbon says candidate confidence is up across the country, so employers may need to review their recruitment strategy or risk missing out on the best talent. “Make sure you have a clear timeline for recruitment because many candidates are expecting multiple offers,” he says.

Harland recommends focusing on career development plans. “People are interested in picking up new skills rather than creating a life-long career within one organisation, so you need to show them what you can offer.”

The strong growth in job ads in February signalled good news for New Zealand’s employment market and business confidence is on the rise. Let’s hope the momentum continues.



Learn more about employment trends in this month’s Industry spotlight on HR and recruitment