Is the job market turning a corner?

updates + insights » Is the job market turning a corner?

Online employment site SEEK has recently reported positive signs of recovery with an increase in job advertising volume. Demand in all the main centres is over halfway back to pre-COVID levels – with Canterbury sitting at 56%. Trade Me Jobs is reporting similar results with job listings still significantly down on last year but remarkably better when compared to drops experienced mid-year.

Who is hiring?

Without doubt there are some key drivers for job losses including for example the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic and the ending of the government wage subsidy, combined with general business uncertainly in the lead up to an election. A lot of sectors are only now seeing the long term effects from recent months and making firm decisions about recovery and/or survival – those sectors most impacted include aviation, hospitality, tourism, food service, retail, and tertiary education providers.

While some sectors slowed to a halt during lockdown, SEEK has reported an increase in job ad postings for the likes of trades and services, information and communication technology, healthcare and medical, manufacturing, transport and logistics, and construction. Similarly, Trade Me Jobs has also seen an increase in job listings within agriculture, fishing and forestry, property, and science and technology.

While there will be winners and losers, just who sits where seems to be a moving feast with normality returning and demand shifting as consumers are refocusing their spending and transforming shopping (and travel) habits.  

Skill shortages

Current border restrictions continue to prove challenging for those roles where there are skill shortages. This includes highly technical roles that often require an extensive global search or for roles where there simply are not enough workers actively in the job market.

There have always been cycles of New Zealand citizens returning home following careers abroad. Some in the industry are reporting more movement in this space with stats suggesting that around 50,000 of the estimated one million Kiwi expats living overseas have returned to New Zealand this year. 

“We are regularly in touch with New Zealand expatriates who are looking to return home for a variety of reasons either personal or career related. New Zealand has always been a huge draw from a lifestyle perspective and the global spotlight on our current Prime Minister has only added to the appeal. While we are seeing an increase in this number as a direct result of COVID-19 we are not seeing the volume congestion that was predicted, at least not from candidates in the senior management and executive space“ commented Decipher co-Director Leanne Crozier.

This is backed up by a recent survey from Kea (the Kiwi Expat Association) suggesting that a significant number of New Zealanders living abroad are unlikely to return. Amongst survey respondents, one-third of expats earned more than NZ$100,000 and over 80 per cent had tertiary qualifications.  

What now?

Pandemic and election aside, the next challenge for job seekers is seasonality – hiring activity typically slows down from November through to January, as does most of the country during the summer break. There is also a period of role movement in January as people make major career decisions following their breaks and then again, following business strategic resets and budget approvals, with the market typically becoming more buoyant around March, April and May. While the summer months may not see a lot of roles in the job market it is an ideal time for job seekers to ensure all of their personal profiles (online and paper) are updated and current – ensuring they are well positioned for any roles that come online in the New Year. 

The Decipher Team      

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