New Zealand’s Job Market On The Mend

New Zealand’s job market has bounced back earlier and
stronger than anticipated, according to analysis of over
33,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter
ending 30 June 2020.

Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade
said the job market ended the second quarter of the year in
better shape than expected with some sectors seeing more job
vacancies than the same time last year. “There’s no
denying that the nationwide lockdown shook New Zealand’s
job market to its core, but we are already seeing a number
of encouraging signs that it’s recovering faster and
better than we predicted.”

Mr Wade said the number
of new job listings in June was down by 17.5 per cent when
compared to the same month in 2019. “This is remarkably
better when compared to the annual drop in job listings we
saw in April (-72%), and May (-52%), and some sectors had
bounced back faster than others.

“While hospitality
and tourism saw one of the steepest year-on-year drops in
job listings in March (-44%) and April (-89%), we actually
saw an annual increase in vacancies in June, with job
listings up 9 per cent when compared to the year

“Many hospitality and tourism businesses
would’ve had to act quickly to cut costs by reducing their
headcount and cancelling any new hires they had planned at
the beginning of lockdown. However, now that these
businesses are able to open for business and Kiwis are
taking the opportunity to explore their backyard, employers
are having to bolster their teams to keep up with

“While there are some positive signs that
the job market is on track to find its rhythm again, the
worst may still be yet to come. Post-September could be the
toughest for small businesses. It won’t be until then,
when the Government wage subsidy has run out, that we expect
to see the real impact of COVID-19 on the

Agriculture, property and technology job
listings spike

The impact of lockdown was very mixed
across the sectors with some seeing job listings continuing
to grow healthily while others saw a massive

“New job listings were down year-on-year for
the quarter in every sector but there were some which have
bounced remarkably well in June with business returning to
normal. Agriculture-fishing & forestry (up 37% on the
year before), property (20%), and science & technology
(29%) all saw job listings increase during June and are
showing no signs of slowing down.

“On the other side
of the coin there are sectors that are taking much more of a
wait-and-see approach, pausing any plans to hire for now.
Job vacancies in customer service (-55%), architecture
(-50%), marketing-media & communications (-59%), and
sales (-42%) were still significantly down in June when
compared to the year prior.

“With job listings down
and more job seekers in the market, demand from job seekers
soared in a number of sectors too with architecture (223%),
sales (117%), and marketing-media & communications
(152%) seeing the biggest increases over the last

Demand for jobs is on the rise

Wade said the uptick in new job listings in June will come
as welcome news for the growing number of job seekers
onsite. “In the second quarter of 2020 we saw a 61 per
cent increase in the number of applications onsite when
compared to the same period last year.

redundancies announced across the country and 25,000 New
Zealanders returning from overseas, the demand and the
competition for many roles is fierce.”

Data from the
second quarter showed demand for roles with flexible working
arrangements was at an all-time high, with ‘work from
home’ seeing an average of 2,000 searches a

“Lockdown was a big test for both employers and
employees to see if working from home was a viable option.
For many it worked really well, and some job seekers have
decided they prefer it. As a result, employers are going to
have to think about how they can accommodate this growing
demand for flexible working.”

Mr Wade added that one
of the most popular jobs in Q2 was a work from home data
entry role, which received over 5,000 views and 853

Regions better off than cities

Wade said the Auckland job market appears to be recovering
at a slower pace than the nationwide average. “The number
of new job listings in the Auckland region was down by 55
per cent in Q2 compared to this time last year. Auckland
city was hardest hit in the region with roles down 58 per

Demand for jobs in Auckland was significantly
higher than the national average, up by 97 per cent in the
region and 113 per cent in Auckland city.

is a region that is heavily dependent on tourism, so it is
unsurprising the job market has been hit hard by the drastic
reduction in overseas visitors.”

Mr Wade said the
number of new job listings in Wellington was also down on
the national average but demand was comparatively steady.
“The number of new job listings in the Wellington region
was down by 49 per cent overall and 52 per cent in
Wellington city when compared to the same quarter last year.
Demand for job vacancies, on the other hand, was up 40 per
cent in Wellington region and 45 per cent in Wellington

Looking at the regions, Mr Wade said some
provinces had seen a particularly fast recovery in job
listings. “While the quarter was, of course, hard
nationwide, June saw some green shoots for a number of
regions. New job listings were up year-on-year in June in a
number of parts of the country with Hawke’s Bay (4%), Bay
of Plenty (2.5%), Manawatu/Whanganui (8%) Marlborough (8%)
Northland (10%) Taranaki (15%), and the West Coast (8%) all
seeing increases.”

In Canterbury, demand for job
vacancies rose by 67 per cent year-on-year in Q2, and
Marlborough saw a similar increase of 71 per cent. Mr Wade
said he expected Canterbury and Marlborough would likely see
higher rates of unemployment in the near future unless more
money is invested into local infrastructure

Salaries hold steady

Mr Wade said
despite the drop in job listings, the national average
salary remained relatively unchanged on the year prior.
“The average salary was $62,785 in Q2, a 1 per cent
increase when compared to the same period in

“This suggests that employers are thinking
long term, rather than looking to save a few bucks in the
short term while there’s more job seekers in the market.
This may also be a result of employers struggling to find
the right candidates.

“Wellington city was the
highest paying district in the second quarter of 2020, with
an average salary of $74,301, up 3 per cent year-on-year.
Auckland city came in second at $71,346, a 1 per cent
decrease when compared to the same quarter last

The IT sector continued to dominate the
highest paid jobs onsite. “Project management, business
& systems analyst, system engineer, and programming
& development roles in IT were the four highest paying
roles last quarter.

“Further, the science &
technology sector saw a 27 per cent increase in average pay
when compared to Q2 last year. On the other hand, the
average pay in the construction and roading sector was down
by 10 per cent, and down by 3 per cent in the architecture

Full force of COVID-19 not yet

Mr Wade said that while things were beginning to
get back on track, we are still yet to feel the brunt of
COVID-19’s impact on the job market. “We don’t yet
know how New Zealand’s job market will fare in the
long-term. The return to normality after lockdown led to a
jump in listing numbers, however, this may not be
sustainable in the long run.

“We expect to see the
job market at its worst in September and October, when the
Government’s wage subsidy is due to end and businesses
will be on their own. The election is another curveball that
will not help business confidence and therefore the desire
to hire”

Mr Wade said increased investment into
infrastructure projects may help keep unemployment rates
down. “On July 1, the Government announced a number of
shovel-ready projects that are predicted to create thousands
of jobs around the country. The economic impact of these
projects will vary between regions but we expect to see job
listings spike in related sectors in the coming

“We hope to see more initiatives announced
in the coming months which will stimulate the job

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