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Wellington bucks the trend in tough New Zealand job market

While the New Zealand job market stutters, the Wellington region is looking remarkably strong, according to an analysis of over 71,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 30 September 2019.

Trade Me Jobs’ Matt Tolich said low business confidence continues to batter most of the New Zealand job market, but Wellington seems to have weathered the storm.

“Throughout this year we’ve seen cracks appearing in the New Zealand job market - with business confidence down. The third quarter of this year is no different, nationwide, the employment market continued to weaken as employers put the brakes on hiring and job listings fell 7.8 per cent on last year."

However, in Wellington, it was a very different story with job listings up 2.6 per cent on last year along with wages which rose 6 per cent to $68,649 - making it the highest earning region in the country.

“With more jobs on offer, more money on the table and applications down 6.6 per cent on last year, it’s a good time to be a job hunter in Wellington.”

Mr Tolich said a chunk of this job growth in Wellington can be attributed to an increase in government jobs. “The predominance of government roles in Wellington helped the region perform particularly well in the third quarter after the government & council sector saw a solid 13.6 per cent increase in job vacancies when compared to last year."

The other main centres haven’t feared so well, said Mr Tolich. “Standing in stark contrast to Wellington, employers in Auckland have been hit the hardest by the business blues with listings falling 14.8 per cent on the same quarter last year.

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Regions a mixed bag
Mr Tolich said along with Wellington, the Hawke’s Bay job market was also looking strong considering the current conditions.

“Job listings in Hawke’s Bay experienced a 9.8 per cent jump year-on-year while the average wage reached a new record after a 1.9 per cent annual increase to $57,012.”

Mr Tolich said behind Auckland, Canterbury saw the biggest drop in job listings falling 11.5 per cent year-on-year. Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, were also feeling the impact of low business confidence with job listings falling 6.5 per cent, 5.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively.

“With a few notable exceptions, it’s a tough market around the country - there are less opportunities and businesses appear to be holding back while they see what the economy has in store.”

Around the sectors
“The business blues continue to affect the vast majority of industries with 21 of the 26 sectors we have on Trade Me Jobs experiencing a drop in job vacancies when compared to last year.

“The sectors most impacted in the third quarter of the year were engineering, with job listings falling 23.5 per cent on last year, and sales where vacancies were down 24.6 per cent.”

It wasn’t bad news for every industry, however. “Marketing, media & communications saw a 10.7 per cent lift in listings when compared to last year, along with government & council which was up 13.6 per cent and retail which rose 0.8 per cent.”

Skilled candidates in hot demand
Mr Tolich said it’s still a job hunters market for skilled candidates. “While jobs listings may be down, some employers are still finding it tough to find the skilled talent they require, and this continues to constrain the growth of many businesses.

“Skilled workers are in hot demand across several sectors including trades & services, construction & roading, and transport & logistics.

Mr Tolich said for unskilled roles, however, it was a different story. “Heightened business uncertainty has employers thinking twice about filling less skilled roles which is making it harder for some candidates to secure a job.”

Employees in Wellington City earn the most
“Employees in Wellington City now earn more than those in Auckland City after the average wage in the capital rose 6.1 per cent year-on-year to $73,374 compared to $72,161 in the Super City (up 0.6 per cent year-on-year).”

Mr Tolich said this is the first time since early 2018 that Wellington City has overtaken Auckland City in the ‘wage war’.

“For years, our two biggest cities have been neck-and-neck in the battle to be the highest earning area in the country, but for now the grass is looking greener in the capital.”

Wages rise countrywide
Mr Tolich said job hunters will be pleased to hear that the national average wage was on the rise.
“The national average wage rose 2.2 per cent on last year to $62,356 with every region apart from Marlborough experiencing an increase in wages.

“This growth has been predominantly driven by the minimum wage increase back in April which saw the minimum pay rate increase $1.20 to $17.70 an hour.”

IT is the highest-earning industry in New Zealand
“If you’re looking for a high-paying job, the IT sector still offers the highest average salary at $112,230 followed by roles in executive & general management at $96,553 and the property sector at $82,331,” Mr Tolich said.

IT roles filled all of the five highest paid positions in the third quarter of 2019 with IT project managers earning the most at an average salary of $145,977.

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