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Businesses Still Hiring, Even In Tough Economic Climate

Despite the challenging economic conditions, many businesses are continuing to actively recruit new staff, according to Trade Me Jobs’ latest data.

The number of job listings rose in the beginning of the year from January through to March, up 11.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter, with applications also up across the board.

“This increase in listings shows that employers are still looking for talent despite softening economic conditions. Companies are hiring although we know from our recruitment partners it’s just taking them longer to make the decision to hire,” said Trade Me’s Matt Tolich.

While listings were significantly down on the previous year, the first quarter of the year had shown an uptick. “Among the biggest increases in listings were in Agriculture, Office and Administration and the Hospitality and Tourism sectors,” said Matt Tolich.

Number of applications up

Total job applications were up compared with the previous quarter, with a 15.4 per cent increase. The biggest increase was in Marlborough with a 25.2 per cent jump, followed by the Otago region at 24.2 per cent. This was mainly driven by the healthcare sector which had the largest increase in applications for both of the regions.

“However when we look at the same time last year, Auckland saw a massive 166.5 per cent jump in applications.

“We know of a couple of factors that are influencing the increased application numbers, including increased levels of migration, with the New Zealand population increasing by the equivalent of a Dunedin last year. Also some organisations are downsizing due to the current economic climate which means there are more available candidates in the market.”

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“Looking ahead we know there will be less migrants coming into the country so these application numbers may soften but it will continue to be an employer market for some time with plenty of great candidates looking for roles,” he said.

When looking at the industries with the most significant surge in applications, the IT sector stands out, with a jump of 70.8 percent followed by Science and Technology (55.7%) and then HR and Recruitment (39.8%) compared with the previous quarter.

Salaries drop slightly compared last quarter

Average pay dipped 2.2 per cent this quarter to $70,761, although it was still up from the same period last year.

“This suggests that the increase in applications means employers have more choice, and aren’t having to reach into their back pocket as much to secure workers,” said Matt Tolich.

Salaries remained stable in certain sectors like Hospitality & Tourism, Transport & Logistics, and Manufacturing & Operations, with less than a 1 per cent change. Meanwhile, hands-on fields like Office & Admin (1.7%), Retail (1.2%), and Agriculture, Fishing & Forestry (1.2%) experienced slight bumps in pay compared to the last quarter.

Impact of public sector in the capital

Trade Me Jobs data for Wellington is beginning to show the impact of public sector job cuts, said Matt Tolich. The capital’s average salary is down 3.3 per cent on the previous quarter to $72,062 - the biggest percentage drop across all of Aotearoa’s regions.

“Listings for roles in central government were down 77.2 per cent year on year and 34.1 per cent for the quarter,” said Tolich.

Wellington also had the biggest drop in listings year on year, although the city experienced a 7.9 per cent boost for the quarter.

The number of job applications in Wellington increased 17.7 per cent compared to the October to December period. This compared with 15.1 per cent for Auckland.

Average salary for sectors January-March 2024

SectorAverage Salary 
Accounting $82,252
Agriculture-fishing & forestry $68,190
Architecture $79,309
Automotive $73,497
Banking-finance & insurance $88,361
Construction & roading$77,478
Customer service$59,034
Education$70,927
Engineering $87,924
Executive and General Management $129,375
Government & council $81,798
Healthcare $73,764
Hospitality & tourism$61,664
HR & recruitment$84,404
IT $107,861
Legal $91,721
Manufacturing & operations $62,997
Marketing-media & communications $81,171
Office & administration $63,898
Other $66,679
Property $86,556
Retail $58,994 
Sales $81,456
Science & technology $68,012
Trades & services $70,710
Transport & logistics $65,133

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