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Wages Remain Hot While Job Listings Cool Off

Salaries are skyrocketing in the regions as Kiwi employers battle to attract staff and combat the rising cost of living, according to the analysis of over 77,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 30 June (Q2).

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director, Matt Tolich, said salaries boomed across the country in Q2. “Nationwide, the average salary increased by 2 per cent year-on-year, or $1,068, to reach $66,016, while a number of regions around the country saw wages hit new records.”

The Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū/Whanganui, Marlborough, Nelson/Tasman, Otago, Southland and Waikato regions all saw their highest average salary ever in the second quarter of this year.

Mr Tolich puts the salary increases down to the rising cost of living, paired with the competitive market conditions. “The increasing cost of living is top of mind for many Kiwis and employers are feeling pressure to pay more to keep up with inflation. On top of this, putting more money on the table continues to be a great way for Kiwi businesses to attract candidates in the talent-short market.

“These market conditions mean candidates have a lot of bargaining power, and it’s a great time for Kiwis to look at their options, or ask for a payrise.”

In the two highest paid regions, Auckland and Wellington, Mr Tolich said average salaries fell slightly in Q2 when compared with the same period in 2021. “These were the only two regions to see a drop, but remained the highest paid spots in the country.”

Job listings stabilise

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Mr Tolich said when it came to the number of job vacancies, the market showed signs of settling in Q2 after the pandemic wreaked havoc over the past couple of years. “Since the beginning of 2020, we have seen the market go through a number of lockdown lulls, followed by sugar rushes fuelled by pent up demand.”

Last quarter, Mr Tolich said the number of jobs listed onsite fell by 5 per cent when compared with the same period in 2021. “This is the first time we have seen a year-on-year drop in listings since 2020, but what we’re really seeing now is the market finding its feet again.

“While a drop in listings might seem concerning to Kiwis looking for a new job, the number of roles advertised in Q2 was actually significantly higher than we were seeing pre-Covid.”

When compared with the same period in 2019, Mr Tolich said the number of job listings in Q2 marked a 19 per cent increase. “The jobs market looks to be levelling off, but it’s certainly still in a stronger position than it was in the pre-pandemic world.”

Mr Tolich said taking a closer look at the regions, the largest drops in listings were seen in the Auckland (-14%) and Wellington (-7%) regions.

However, not every region saw a year-on-year drop in listings in Q2. “Northland (+11%), Marlborough (+9%), Taranaki (+8%), Canterbury (+5%), Bay of Plenty (+3%), and West Coast (+1%) all bucked the national trend and saw listings increase when compared with the same quarter in 2021.”

Job applications continue to increase nationwide

Nationwide, we saw a 3 per cent jump in the number of applications per job listed onsite in Q2 when compared with the first three months of the year. “This marks the second quarter in a row where applications have increased, after they also climbed 2 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2022.

"As life in New Zealand returns to a new kind of normal and we learn to live with Covid in our communities, it seems more Kiwis are finding the confidence to take the next step in their career and looking to make a move."

Looking around the country, Mr Tolich said applications per listing increased in every region except Canterbury, Marlborough, Manawatū/Whanganui, and Wellington in Q2. ”The Bay of Plenty (+7%), Hawke’s Bay (+20%), Nelson/Tasman (+17%) and Northland (8%) regions saw the biggest year-on-year jumps in job applications per listing during the quarter.”

Market changes expected in the coming months

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Mr Tolich said we may be entering a period where the market sees some big shifts. “With high salaries and an abundance of listings, it’s still a job seekers market, but we may see this change as we head into the second half of the year.

However, Mr Tolich said there are positive changes ahead for Kiwi businesses struggling to find candidates. “A significant number of migrants will enter the country when the borders open up this month. This will no doubt shake up the market and hopefully help fill those roles.”

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