With tight controls on NZ borders, it doesn’t look like we’ll have an influx of overseas workers anytime soon. In the meantime, the country is experiencing a severe skills shortage in a number of industries. It’s an ideal market for job seekers to find a job right now, as they have more power than ever before with companies desperate for qualified workers.
The State of Employment in NZ
As of June 2021, 67.6% of people were employed, up by 0.5% from the previous quarter. While this increase may not seem dramatic, it equals a total of 29,000 more people employed in this quarter than the previous one. The unemployment rate is a shockingly low 4%, down 0.6% in the same timeframe.
The Current Skills Shortage
MBIE data gathered in December 2020 showed that 48% of employers were planning on hiring new staff within 6 – 12 months. That’s a considerable number of positions up for grabs across 2021.
The number of jobs posted online was at the lowest it had been in a long time halfway through last year. Since then, there has been a dramatic resurgence in job posting, suggesting that businesses are now ready to hire new staff.
However, just because businesses want to hire new employees doesn’t mean that there are enough qualified applicants to fill these roles. There are simply not enough people with the required skills or qualifications to fill all of the positions that are being posted.
In particular, the industries experiencing a skills shortage include law, medicine, science, management, IT, and accounting.
Many trade industries are also struggling to find qualified workers. In the construction industry, for example, there is a lack of staff for roles such as project managers, builders, and quantity surveyors.
In the field of engineering, the long term skills shortage list mentions positions such as chemical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineering technician, industrial engineer, and many more.
The issue is not as much finding people to apply as it is finding qualified applicants. People with the skills and education required for positions such as these are already employed by rival firms. That’s why employers are having to take matters into their own hands and outbid each other to hire new staff.
How The Shortage is Helping Job Seekers
If you have qualifications in any of the industries experiencing a shortage right now, the time is right to get a new job. As employers extend their search for suitable staff members, they are more and more willing to pay higher rates and offer more benefits. Don’t accept a new role without negotiating the salary – you can likely earn far more than you would have expected to a year ago.
How Employers Are Changing Their Hiring Techniques
As employers increasingly acknowledge that the future of work is flexible, they are changing what they offer applicants during the hiring process. Over in the US, 41% of employers plan to increase their benefits related to mental health and wellbeing in the next year. 66% are going to start offering increased flexibility with ways of working, more often allowing staff to work from home.
New Zealand seems to be following this same pattern, with employers putting more emphasis on offering added benefits to attract qualified candidates. The pandemic has shown the world the importance of mental health and flexibility in the workplace, and these considerations are now a must for hiring talented staff.
Another change is that many employers are now widening the net when it comes to looking for qualified applicants. Job seekers are in control, so they need to advertise positions through the websites applicants are using. Up and coming job listing websites such as Shopless, for example, are becoming more popular as the listings on these sites increase. Not everyone is rushing to Seek and TradeMe to look for jobs anymore, with these sites experiencing a decrease in listings, according to MBIE. So, employers have to keep up with the times.
Current Job Market
How the latest Covid lockdown will change things is yet to be seen, however, there are still plenty of job listings advertised on job listing sites. It’s likely that businesses are still hiring as they know they will need to ramp up once everyone is back in the office to still get projects completed in a timely manner. Therefore, we may expect to see another hiring surge as we head back down to Level 2 and below.