Boost for business as Kiwi employer confidence reaches six-year high

Hiring sentiment is at its highest level in six years as the demand for new hires becomes increasingly balanced across New Zealand...

Hiring sentiment is at its highest level in six years as the demand for new hires becomes increasingly balanced across New Zealand, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released today.

A net 30.1% of employers across the country intend to increase permanent staff numbers, up two percentage points (pp) compared to the previous quarter, and marking four consecutive quarters of employment growth.

Previously the Canterbury and Auckland regions have been key drivers of hiring demand nationally and while still positive, this is now being supported by rising expectations in the Lower North Island where employer sentiment has shot up 5.2pp to 22.8%, in the highest quarter on quarter increase in the region since early 2011.

“For some time both the Canterbury re-build and investment in Auckland have been leading the employment charge, however post-Election we’re now seeing Wellington, led by the resumption of large Government transformation projects, starting to come to the party and signalling a much more balanced hiring landscape across New Zealand,” says Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.

“While business confidence is growing in line with consumer confidence, a watchful eye is being kept on key indicators such as inflation, commodity prices and the dollar.

“Employers are cautiously juggling demand in order to be competitive and we expect incremental employment growth in the year ahead.”

Hiring intentions by region

Net hiring sentiment in the South Island remains the strongest nationally, with a net 40.3% of employers intending to increase headcount, down 1.9pp compared to the previous quarter.

“Hiring expectations in Canterbury remain high as the region continues to deliver large property and construction projects and roles in demand include quantity surveyors, estimators, civil engineers and project managers,” Rogers adds.

“However, with some large insurance programmes drawing to a close, we can expect to see an influx of both technical and office-based candidates coming onto the market at the same time.

“This will create opportunities for businesses to pick up some great employees; however it is likely that the market will become even more competitive as a result.”

Employer sentiment in Upper North Island continues to increase, up 2.5pp with a net 29% of employers intending to increase head count, and up 10.3pp compared to the same time last year.

“Investment in Auckland’s construction and manufacturing sectors continue to drive increased optimism and employment growth in this region,” Rogers adds.

“Tourism is also having an impact, with fantastic summer weather and a number of major events lifting domestic consumption.”

Roles in demand in Lower North Island are those linked to change management, transformation and organisational development.

And, this demand may strengthen as time goes on with plans for a Wellington ‘Super City’ currently in play.

Permanent & contracting hiring intentions by profession

Nationwide, Property & Construction is the profession with the strongest positive hiring sentiment (59.7%), followed by Supply Chain & Procurement (42.2%), Technical & Engineering (36.5%), Financial Services (36%), Information, Communication & Technology (35.8%), Office Support (21.3%), and Accounting & Finance (18.9%).

“We continue to see a trend in Supply Chain & Procurement toward greater efficiency and increasing productivity as organisations try to improve their margins,” Rogers adds.

Overall, net contractor hiring sentiment remains constant at 14.6%, as employers continue to focus on keeping business intelligence within their organisations and balancing an average target ratio of 75% / 25% contract versus permanent team split for projects.

Sentiment in Information, Communication & Technology remains strong across the board with net 20% hiring managers intending to increase contract headcount.

“Advancements in digital technologies continue to revolutionise the way we do business,” Rogers adds.

“The ability to harness these effectively and create the personalised and tailored experiences that customers demand is becoming a key differentiator that requires an unprecedented level of responsiveness and innovation.

“It is no surprise then, that we are seeing an increase in demand for roles related to business process and enhancing the customer experience.”