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No signs of cooling in job market

Media release 14 February 2008

No signs of cooling in job market

New Zealand’s job market is still running hot and there are no signs of a cooling caused by a possible US recession this year.

That’s the message in the latest employment forecast podcast from recruitment specialists Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

“We have seen no slowdown in our business,” says Robert Half managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Nigel Barcham. “There’s a surge in advertising across the market.

“But even if there is a slowdown we believe that good people will continue to be in high demand.”

New Zealand’s finance sector skills shortage will continue this year, says Robert Half Finance & Accounting Auckland division director Megan Alexander.

Continued overseas demand for skilled New Zealand professionals is putting “a huge wage pressure” on the entire market. In particular, finance and management accountant positions are hard to fill, recently qualified accountants are heading straight off overseas and creating a shortage at that level, and competent accounts payable staff are very hard to find.

Skilled payroll staff are also highly sought after, and Ms Alexander says she has recently seen one payroll person increase their salary by $30,000 simply by switching jobs.

The shortage of permanent staff is also a boom for temporary and contract workers, says Ms Alexander. More temporary roles are becoming available to fill the gaps between permanent employees, and they are lasting longer.

“We are actually seeing a lot of permanent candidates leaving their roles to take up contract and temporary work because they are seeing the opportunities and the flexibility in the market place.”

Ms Alexander also doubts a recession in the US will have any effect on New Zealand’s finance and accounting job market.

“I think that, realistically, there’s not enough in the New Zealand labour market for that to have any impact in 2008. I don’t see a big decline in the demand [for labour] here in New Zealand.”

Mr Barcham says employers faced with continued skills shortages should adopt three strategies for attracting staff. First, they should always hire the best people they can. “Good people attract good people,” he says.

Secondly, they should ensure their employer brand is consistent and clear so they attract the right candidates.

And finally, “See the interview process not as an interrogation, but as a process where both parties are trying to impress each other.”

The Robert Half 2008 Employment Forecast podcast is available at


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