NZ time: Thursday 13th December 2018, 5:17AM

Job opportunities on the rise in June

Sales Up

Written by SEEK employment trends

SEEK Employment Trends

New Zealand’s job market showed little sign of cooling down in the first month of winter.

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job advertising continued to rise in June with 6.5% more opportunities than the same time last year.

Regions such as Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay continued to record strong levels of advertising and there has been an upward trend over the past four months.

“Demand for talent remains strong across the country,” says Megan Alexander, Managing Director of Robert Half New Zealand. “Employers need to step up their recruitment practices to attract the best. While salary will always be a drawcard, they have to get serious about other benefits, such as flexible work practices. This is a growing expectation among candidates.”

Industries on the rise

Growth in job advertising on SEEK in June was largely led by New Zealand’s service sectors.  This included public-sector dominated industries, such as Healthcare & Medical and Education & Training, which both grew by 12% year-on-year. The Government & Defence industry also recorded a 10% lift compared to the same time last year.

Meanwhile, Banking & Financial Services led the way for year-on-year growth in June. Job ads for the industry rose by 23% and SEEK data shows that while there have been moderate levels of advertising relative to the past five years, there has been an upward trend over the past four months.

“We have seen steady growth in the financial services market, off the back of continued economic development across New Zealand, says Lois Bicknell, Client Relationship Manager at Madison. “Due to changing technologies within the financial services space we are also seeing demand for roles with new, innovative skillsets on the rise as employers trying to stay ahead of each other. Changes to banking regulations in Australia have also put pressure on New Zealand financial services to update and adjust their risk policies.”

A slip for some sectors

While opportunities on SEEK remain bright across the majority of industries, some sectors experienced a decline.

The construction industry, for example, experienced its first slip for the year, albeit a small decline of 1%. Despite this, Callum Massie, Manager, Michael Page New Zealand, says the country’s construction boom is still creating unprecedented demand for industry talent.

“Due to population growth, we have seen a construction focus on residential dwellings in the form of apartments and large-scale housing developments,” he says. “This has created a greater demand in all amenities, including retail, commercial, civil and infrastructural projects which are all contributing factors in the increase in demand.”

Consulting & Strategy also recorded a 5% year-on-year decline in June and Engineering dipped by 4% over the same period.

While the Real Estate & Property industry recorded the greatest year-on-year decline in June (28%), Massie says demand remains strong, particularly for property development specialists.

“Since 2013, we have seen significant growth within retail and social developments here in New Zealand,” he says. “With an aggressive growth strategy for new retail developments, such as Commercial Bay, and improvements to Sylvia Bay (in Auckland), the industry requires passionate and skilled property development experts who can project manage, negotiate and help plan New Zealand’s future.
“Roles within retail and property development are in high demand because we have a shortage of skills,” adds Massie. “What we have seen is skilled professionals within the property industry coming to New Zealand from Australia and the rest of the globe to be involved in our development boom.”

Time to get flexible

To attract the best talent in the current market, Alexander says employers must get serious about flexible working conditions.

“We know that workplace location plays a big role in the decision to accept and remain in a job,” she says. “Commuting to and from work can add a lot of time to a working day and flexible opportunities, such as remote working, are now highly valued.

“Many employers confuse flexibility with work-life balance, but they are very different things,” adds Alexander. “When employees want flexibility, it’s generally not so they can work less and have more time for themselves or their families. It’s because they need to work outside the typical nine-to-five day in an office. I expect that employers who can deliver on flexible working conditions will really stand out as an employer or choice.”

Bicknell adds that employers need to “fundamentally practice what they preach”.

“If you say you offer a family friendly environment or work-life balance, make it obvious and emphasise the support you offer within your organisation on all relevant social media platforms or advertisements, ideally with current employee ‘real life’ references,” she says. “If you offer a credible leadership program, include this in all relevant marketing related collateral.”

With job ads on SEEK continuing to rise, competition for talent may be about to heat up in the winter months. Employers who include genuine flexibility in their value proposition look set to stand out.