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Skill shortages easing; sector disparities

6 October 2005

Skill shortages easing; sector disparities

Employers are still competing for hard-to-find labour, but there are signs that skill shortages are now beginning to ease, according to the Department of Labour’s latest Job Vacancy Monitor.

Another key feature of the August result is the substantial difference between the growth in advertised job vacancies for highly skilled and lower skilled labour, which are showing distinctively opposing trends.

A one-day analysis of job ads in 25 newspapers and selected websites in August showed that advertised job vacancies grew by 6 per cent from August 2004. This was the lowest growth rate since it was first recorded in January 2004.

Deputy Secretary Andrew Crisp said the data was consistent with other indicators such as those measured in the most recent quarterly Skills in the Labour Market report, which showed that labour shortages might be less acute.

“There may be a little less pressure on employers looking for people to fill positions.”

The 6 per cent growth rates compares with an annual growth rate of 9% in July, 8% in June, 10% in May 2005 - and a high of 26% in April 2004.

At the same time, there were wide disparities in the growth of advertised vacancies by skill levels, Mr Crisp said. This shows that, despite a general improvement in recruitment conditions for employers, there are still areas of extreme shortages.

“The disparities in August between the growth in advertised vacancies for highly skilled and lower skilled labour are the widest we’ve ever seen. They are also a complete reversal of where they were at 18 months ago.”

Growth in highly-skilled vacancies reached the highest level ever (24%), while growth in skilled and semi-skilled/elementary vacancies reached a record low.

Job vacancies grew significantly for administrators and managers (46%), while teachers and health professionals continued to be in high demand.

Vacancies continued to decline among the trades, particularly for printing (31%), building (-10%) and metal and machinery trades (-6%).

The number of advertised vacancies in the IT sector reached a new high. There were 54% more vacancies measured in August compared with the same month in 2004.

“This reflects a growing gap between demand and supply of IT skills,” Mr Crisp said.


Regional information

Year-on-year regional increases in the number of advertised vacancies in August 2005 (compared with year-on-year regional increases in July 2005):

Change August 2004 to August 2005 / Change July 2004 to July 2005
Northland 39% 38%
Auckland 8% 13%
Waikato 10% 11%
Bay of Plenty 27% 29%
Gisborne 6% 6%
Hawke’s Bay 7% 12%
Taranaki 35% 32%
Manawatu-Wanganui 15% 16%
Wellington 19% 19%
Marlborough 5% 13%
Nelson/Tasman -6% -6%
West Coast 42% 51%
Canterbury 3% 4%
Otago 9% 7%
Southland 11% 11%

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