Spotlight on part-time, contract and casual work
The structure of the New Zealand workforce is not what it used to be. A growing desire for flexibility in workplace operations and a need for employers to attract the best and brightest means non-full time roles are on the rise.  

“Companies are looking at the skills they need and are questioning whether the role actually needs to be full time,” says Kate Ross, Director of Kinetic Recruitment. “They are often finding better-skilled part-time candidates because there is quite a skills shortage in the full time market right now./

New ways of working

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads for casual/vacation roles grew by 78% year-on-year in March. Contract/temp roles were up by 14% and part-time roles increased by 18%.

Steve Jackson, Chief Operating Officer at recruitment firm Maddison, says this growth is a reflection of new ways of working.

“Organisations are responding and adapting to the world’s rapidly changing digital landscape by deploying flexible programs of work that require rapid resourcing with key skill sets,” he says. “Subsequently, we’ve observed a high demand for interim talent over the past year, and we expect this to continue. On the candidate side, our register of professional contractors is looking very healthy and anecdotally we’ve noticed more interest from Kiwis overseas looking to move back, as well as a few more Australians attracted by our strong economy and interesting projects on offer.”

Jackson adds that more candidates are also seeking part-time roles. “Demand for pure part-time roles probably outstrips supply, particularly at the skilled professional level,” he says. “The desire for flexibility – and this takes many forms – is certainly one of the key drivers reported by job seekers across industries and functions when looking for new opportunities.”

KPMG is one company responding to the growing need for flexible work. Vanessa Wiltshire KPMG’s Organisational Development Manager People, Performance and Culture, says this is simply a requirement of the modern workplace. While most part-time roles are within the company’s support services roles, Wiltshire says any division role could become part time through flexible working options. “Gone are the days of clocking in at 8.30am and out at 5pm when you switch off your computer that sits on your desk and you leave work when you leave the building,” she says.

“Clients have also changed,” adds Wiltshire. “They are more demand-oriented, expect a customised experience and could be based anywhere in the world. The only way we can meet this demand is through having a talented, diverse workforce who can operate at their performance potential, regardless of time or day. We can create an organisational design that reflects our clients and our business ambitions, whatever that might look like.”

Trends across industries

While demand for non-full time roles varies across industries, the majority of sectors experienced growth across these classifications.

New Zealand’s booming hospitality and tourism industry showed a strong appetite for non-full time roles in March. Job ads casual/vacation were up by 215% while contract/temp grew by 31% and part time roles were up by 60%.

Job ads for contract/temp roles in HR and recruitment increased by 45% while part-time roles were up by 43% and job ad levels for casual/vacation roles remained at the same level as the same time last year. “Employers are looking at part-timers to come in for set period to do HR and recruitment,” says Ross. “We're always looking for consultants or HR specialists to come in for these sort of projects.”

In the government and defence industry, job ads for casual/vacation roles were up by 18% while contract/temp roles were up by 59% and part time roles increases by 106%.

Meanwhile, the engineering industry also experienced an increase in job ads for non-full time roles. Contract/temp increased by 4%, casual/vacation roles remained at the same level as the previous year and part-time roles also grew slightly. “There’s quite a skills shortage in engineering right now and a lot of employers are saying, ‘if you can find someone part time I'll take them’,” explains Ross. “They are having to be flexible in their requirements.”

The value of flexibility

Flexibility is the key word when it comes to non-full time roles, says Wiltshire. “If flexible work arrangements help attract a more diverse candidate pool, keep employees engaged, help us retain talent as they go through different life stages and enable us to provide a better experience for our clients, why wouldn’t we be open to it?”

Ross adds flexibility is now becoming a necessity for businesses. “I think more businesses have their blinkers off and are now much more open to what's out there in terms of talent rather than how the role needs to be structured,” she says. “The market is changing quickly and employers need to be flexible to keep up.”