The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for 4Q17 suggests that hiring intentions have eased for the last quarter of the year as New Zealand employers await the outcome of the election. The company’s research has found that five out of seven tracked industries reporting weaker employment expectations than the same time last year. However, employment expectations remain in positive territory sustaining an 8-year run of strong hiring intentions. The survey collects data from over 59,000 employers in 43 countries, including 650 in New Zealand.
The Net Employment Outlook (NEO) for New Zealand has reached +11 per cent, signalling that more companies expect to increase staffing levels than not heading into the last quarter of the year.
While remaining positive and within a steady band, employers in most sectors and regions across the country have recorded a weaker Outlook for payrolls both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.
Despite the decline, ManpowerGroup Australia & New Zealand managing director Richard Fischer believes the latest data affirms the strength of the New Zealand employment market while pointing to some key differences across the country.
"New Zealand has now sustained eight years of strong hiring expectations. Employers are signalling that they intend to continue this vigorous competition for talent as we head into the fourth quarter", said Mr Fischer. "However, there are clear differences across the country with the mining and construction sector continuing to drive the positive Outlook at +18 per cent while other sectors are more subdued. It is evident that reconstruction in Christchurch continues to underpin a strong employment Outlook in that market."
Steady workforce gains are forecast for three sectors with Outlooks of +12 per cent - the public administration and education sector, the transportation and utilities sector and the wholesale and retail trade sector. Respectable hiring activity is also anticipated in the finance, insurance and real estate sector and the services sector, with Outlooks standing at +11 per cent. Meanwhile, the weakest Outlook of +9 per cent is reported in the manufacturing sector.
Quarter-over-quarter, Outlooks weaken in five of the seven industry sectors. Finance, insurance and real estate sector employers report the most notable decrease of nine percentage points. Hiring plans are six percentage points weaker in the mining and construction sector, while declining by five percentage points in both the Manufacturing sector and the transportation and utilities sector. However, slight improvements of two percentage points are reported in both the public administration and education sector and the services sector.
Hiring intentions also weaken in five of the seven industry sectors when compared with this time one year ago. The Outlook for the mining and construction sector declines by nine percentage points, while decreases of five percentage points are reported in both the manufacturing sector and the wholesale and retail trade sector. Employers in two sectors – the finance, insurance and real estate sector and the services sector – report declines of three percentage points. Meanwhile, hiring prospects improve by two percentage points in both the public administration and education sector and the transportation and utilities sector.
Employment levels are forecast to increase in all three regions during the coming quarter. The strongest labour market is anticipated in Christchurch where employers report a Net Employment Outlook of +12 per cent. Elsewhere, Outlooks stand at +11 per cent and +10 per cent in Auckland and Wellington, respectively.
However, when compared with 3Q 2017, hiring prospects weaken in Christchurch and Auckland, where employers report decreases of five and three percentage points, respectively. However, the Outlook for Wellington is two percentage points stronger.
Auckland employers report a moderate decline of five percentage points when compared with this time one year ago, but Outlooks remain relatively stable in both Christchurch and Wellington.