While SEEK believes the general election has not impacted on the New Zealand employment market, Trade Me suggests the market has cooled following the company’s analysis of over 71,000 vacancies advertised on Trade Me Jobs between July and September. Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade said the strong double-digit growth in new listings reported over the previous 12 months eased last quarter, and was only up a modest 4.8 per cent year-on-year, and well down on the high of 16 per cent growth in the December 2016 quarter.
“Over the past three months, we’ve seen Kiwi employers put their foot on the brakes as election apprehension has rippled throughout the country,” he said. “Traditionally during an election we see some effect on the employment market, however greater uncertainty around this year’s general election has hit harder than expected.”
Listings from small and medium-sized businesses in particular tailed off more than during the 2014 election campaign. Mr Wade said uncertainty around who would be in government has delayed any potential post-election recovery. “Once a government forms, we typically see the job market bounce back as the country finds its employment rhythm again. However this year, with some policy horse-trading still to occur, we’ve yet to see a significant improvement post-election.”
Trades and services, which has been a large contributor to job growth over the past year, dropped four per cent year-on year for the September quarter. In contrast, transport and logistics which can be a bellwether for future economic growth, increased 28 per cent year-on year. “We’ll be watching these sectors closely once a government is formed. If they continue to rein in their hiring aspirations, then this may have an impact on economic growth for New Zealand.”
The average number of applications per role was down 17.1 per cent on a year ago, with applications for roles in Auckland region falling 22.5 per cent. “The market remains very much in favour of the job hunter and with a shortage of skilled people to fill roles, potential employees are being more selective about the jobs they apply for,” Mr Wade said.
After a considerable delay, the skilled labour shortage is manifesting itself in advertised wage growth. The average wage increased for the first time in 2017, up a modest 0.8 per cent year-on-year. Combined with the relatively low competition for roles, Mr Wade said job hunters had good reason to be optimistic. “Average pay is up almost one per cent on this time last year which will be encouraging for many Kiwis who have experienced little or no wage growth over the past few years. Across the sectors, the big movers included increases of 18 per cent for legal roles, 11 per cent for construction and roading roles, and a 7 per cent bump for architecture jobs,” Mr Wade said.