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SEEK NZ Employment Report February


  • Job ads declined 3% in February and are now 15% lower than February 2019.
  • Applications per job ad continue to rise, up 3% from December to January*.


  • A 24% drop in ad volume in Manawatu led the national decline in February.
  • When compared to pre-COVID, the cities have recorded the largest fall in hiring activity, whereas most other regions have experienced growth.


  • The Construction and Industrial sectors recorded the greatest declines in February, with Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics falling 9% and Construction down 12%.
  • Job ads in Healthcare & Medical rose for the second month in a row, up 6% from January.

*Applications per job ad are recorded with a one-month lag and data shown in this report refers to January data. 

Of the February data, Rob Clark, Country Manager SEEK NZ, says:

“After a slight uplift in January, job ads returned to a declining trend in February, dropping 3%.
“Certainly, the recent confirmation that we are in a recession will have an impact on the hiring outlook for many employers. For candidates who are already competing heavily for the roles available, this may lead to an even tougher market in the months to come.
“It’s important to note that some industries are still hiring, with rising job ads in Healthcare & Medical, Sales and Marketing & Communications. History shows us that certain industries are more recession-proof than others, such as Healthcare & Medical and Education & Training, so we would expect there to be some areas of resilience in the coming months.”

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After a small rise in January, job ads dropped 3% in February. They are now 15% lower than February 2019.
Applications rose for the fifth consecutive month and are now three times February 2019 levels.  
With job ads lower than pre-COVID and applications per job ad significantly higher, the market is incredibly competitive for workers applying for new roles.
Figure 1: National SEEK job ad percentage change m/m February 2023 to February 2024

Table 1: National and regional job ad growth/decline comparing February 2024 to: i) January 2024 (m/m), ii) February 2023 (y/y) and iii) February 2019 (pre-COVID).

Job ads in most regions fell in February, including in Manawatu which fell 24% in February, after a 21% rise the month prior. Declines in ad volumes in Accounting and Administration & Office Support were responsible for the drop last month.

There was no change to ad volumes in Auckland m/m, whereas single-digit drops in Wellington and Canterbury along with the decline in Manawatu in contributed to the national decline.

When comparing to pre-COVID, it is clear the greatest decline in hiring activity is happening in the major metro regions, with job ad volumes in Wellington, Auckland and Canterbury down 29%, 26% and 10% respectively compared to February 2019. The other regions, including Waikato and Bay of Plenty, are recording job ad volumes higher than pre-COVID.
Applications per job ad increased in most regions, with a 12% jump in Bay of Plenty and a 5% rise for roles in Waikato.

Figure 2: Major region job ad trends: February 2020 to February 2024. Index: 100 = 2013 avg

Figure 3: National SEEK job ad percentage change by region (February 2024 vs January 2024).


Hiring activity for roles within the Construction and Industrial sectors slowed in February with Trades & Services (-5%), Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics (-9%) and Construction (-12%) all dropping m/m.

Over the past two months job ads in Healthcare & Medical roles have jumped, rising 6% in February and 10% since the start of the year. Hospitality & Tourism and Education & Training were among the other industries to record ad volume increases m/m.

Applications per job ad rose in most industries in January, despite ad volumes also rising that month, with a 40% jump in Consulting & Strategy and 25% more applications per ad in Government & Defence.

Figure 4: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by industry (February 2024 vs January 2024) – Ordered by job ad volume.

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