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Overview

Key Findings

  • More than half of employers (59.1%) intend to keep staffing levels steady, while 31.3% intend to employ more people. Only 9.6% plan to decrease headcount.
  • The South Island still has the highest positive hiring intentions of all regions.
  • Industries with the most positive intentions include Government, Education and Financial Services/Insurance.
  • Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) is the most positive profession.
  • Just under a quarter (23.3%) of employers intend to increase their contractor base.
  • Medium-sized businesses hold the most positive hiring expectations with more than a third (35.2%) planning to hire more staff next quarter.

Insights

  • Recovery is taking longer than previous recessions, despite strong first-quarter growth in GDP. Employment growth is looking stronger compared to the 1997/98 experience.1 Annual job growth of 1.8% by next March and 2.1% by March 2014 is predicted.2

    Consumer confidence, a key driver for business growth which has flow-on effects for the employment market, has inched higher. This level isn’t strong and still reflects some caution, but is moving in the right direction. Overall, confidence is signalling 2.4% growth by the end of the year.3 The gap between expectations and future conditions has narrowed suggesting that sentiment is now being based on reality as opposed to lofty and sometimes misguided expectations. Most sectors appear to be experiencing uncertain demand with tight margins4 making it difficult for employers to commit to substantial staffing increases.

    Economic conditions are having a variable impact on employment. In the medium term, the balance between demand and supply of skills is influenced by the rate of economic growth. As the economy continues to recover, various industries are affected differently. The challenge in the labour market is to adjust by matching skills supplied to those demands as economic growth changes.5


    1 Stuff.co.nz, Slow recovery for job market, viewed 6 September 2012.
    2, 5 Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Quarterly Labour Market Report, viewed 11 September 2012.
    3 ANZ-Roy Morgan NZ Confidence Survey, viewed 14 September 2012.
    4 BNZ Confidence Survey, viewed 14 September 2012.

Region

Key Findings

  • The South Island is the most confident region with more than half (55.3%) of employers planning to increase headcount, up 3.1pp.
  • Positive hiring expectations among Lower North Island employers are up to 31.5%.
  • The Upper North Island has the least positive hiring expectations at 21.0% and the strongest intentions to decrease headcount.

Insights

  • Sentiment in the South Island remains strong. Domestic recovery is expected to accelerate as the Canterbury rebuild ramps up. This will lead to a steady improvement in the labour market however regional and industry variation will persist.6 Canterbury will need a broad pool of labour as the rebuild takes off, driving growth in areas like hospitality and retail.7

    Optimism appears to be translating into increased vacancies, but is yet to translate into increased employment. This suggests there may be a mismatch between the skills demanded by Canterbury employers and the skills held by those left in the region or willing to move to the region.8

    The Construction sector is leading the way in terms of the increased South Island hiring expectations. There is high demand for project managers/directors, quantity surveyors and candidates with skills related specifically to geotechnical engineering. There appears to be a widening gap between salaries offered by the public and private sectors for these in-demand roles with the latter offering higher remuneration.

    In the Upper North Island, Auckland is benefiting from a stronger labour market with employment growth outperforming the rest of New Zealand over the past year.9 Employment in Auckland, Canterbury and the rest of the South Island are expected to increase strongly over the next year.10

    Auckland recorded the largest increase in confidence up by 9.2pp and Wellington was the lowest.11 Close to a quarter of Auckland businesses are continuing to find it difficult to employ skilled staff and 5.0% are struggling to fill unskilled positions.12

    Hiring intentions in the Lower North Island have increased this quarter but reality is dampened by stringent sign off procedures in order to manage cost. The market may however ease with the upcoming All-Of-Government recruitment contract which is anticipated to offer significant cost savings on recruitment.13


    6, 8 Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Quarterly Labour Market Report, viewed 15 September 2012.
    7, 10 Stuff.co.nz, Slow recovery for job market, viewed 6 September 2012.
    9 ASB The Main Report, June 2012 Quarter, viewed 11 September 2012.
    11 Yahoofinance.co.nz, NZ consumer confidence lifts in August as outlook improves, viewed 9 September 2012.
    12 Voxy.co.nz, Auckland business waiting for economic recovery – survey, viewed 16 September 2012.
    13 Ministry of Economic Development, All of Government contracts – External Recruitment Services, viewed 16 September 2012.

Profession

Key Findings

  • Overall the majority of employers across all professions are reporting an intention to keep staffing levels steady.
  • The profession with the most positive hiring expectations is Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) with 42.8% of employers intending to increase permanent hires. This is followed by Sales, Marketing & Communications (27.1%), Financial Services (24.2%), Office Support (20.3%) and Accounting & Finance (17.1%).
  • One in eight employers (12.1%) intends to reduce hiring in Financial Services making it the least optimistic profession. This is followed by Accounting & Finance (11.0%) and ICT (7.9%).

Insights

  • There are a number of projects at different phases of the development cycle, and this is being reflected by broad-based demand for talent in ICT. There is particularly strong demand for project managers, business analysts and testers.

    In the Sales, Marketing & Communications space there is a decline in generalist brand roles and more demand for skills in customer analytics, product development and design, internal and external communications skills. Many organisations are trying to better understand digital and how it relates to customer engagement and satisfaction.

    Accounting & Finance teams in particular remain lean as they need to lead by example. Organisations are increasingly demanding data to build business cases and this is placing additional demands on these teams.

    There haven’t been significant shifts in remuneration in Financial Services and Hudson is seeing some senior finance people moving to new roles to secure higher financial rewards.

Industry

Key Findings

  • Over half of employers across all industries are reporting steady hiring intentions.
  • Government is the most positive industry, with 35.0% of employers intending to hire more staff and hiring expectations are up 10.2pp compared to last quarter.
  • Government is also reporting the strongest intention to decrease headcount next quarter (13.5%). Financial Services/Insurance has dropped 7.5pp to 22.4% in terms of positive hiring intentions.
  • Education is up 3.0pp to 26.3% of employers intending to increase headcount next quarter.

Insights

  • While consumers continue to pay off debt which will benefit the economy in the longer term, it provides challenges to the retail and services sectors in the short term. Historically low interest rates have not been sufficient to increase consumption14 which is affecting hiring practices.

    The Government result is mixed and could reflect the rebuild in Canterbury as organisations in the South Island continue with business as usual, as well as a high level of project work which is resulting in upswings in hiring intentions. By contrast, the public sector has slashed 555 jobs in the past year and is expected to lose almost 400 more by June 2013. The Government’s cap on civil servants remains at 36,475. According to the Public Service Association the number of unfilled vacancies could be as high as 30.0%.15

    Growing school rolls and rise in retirements is impacting demand for teachers. The Post Primary Teachers Association states more than 2,000 secondary teachers will be needed to meet the increase in demand by 2019. Improving economic conditions could also mean that teacher supply becomes difficult as many secondary teachers seek employment opportunities outside of teaching.16


    14 Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Quarterly Labour Market Report, viewed 10 September 2012.
    15 Stuff.co.nz, 555 jobs gone from the public sector, viewed 13 September 2012.
    16 The New Zealand Herald, Teacher Shortage Looms, viewed 13 September 2012.

Size

Key Findings

  • Medium-sized businesses hold the most positive hiring expectations with more than a third (35.2%) planning to hire more staff, up 1.1pp. Large businesses are less optimistic with 30.4% reporting positive hiring expectations.
  • Overall, regardless of organisational size most organisations intend to keep their staffing status quo – with 77.8% of small businesses, 57.8% of large businesses and 59.5% of medium-sized businesses sharing this intention.
  • While expectations have increased slightly among medium-sized and large businesses, positive hiring expectations among small organisations have dropped 14pp to 20.0%.

Insights

  • It is an encouraging sign that medium and large-sized businesses can see growth, albeit slow, as many will eventually need to hire more employees to support this growth. Mid-market business18 contributed NZ$61.4billion to the local economy and 417,000 full-time equivalent jobs and has a key role to play in increasing revenue and jobs in New Zealand. The mid-market is growing fastest in agriculture, forestry and fishing. The biggest declines were in rental, hiring, and real estate services.19

    Many small organisations hired up last quarter so do not need to do so again this quarter. It is important to remember that small businesses have a smaller employee base so one additional hire represents a big investment and is significant.


    18, 19 Scoop.co.nz, Mid-market businesses overlooked as economic driver, viewed 14 September 2012.

Contracting

Key Findings

  • Overall, the majority of employers intend to keep their temporary and fixed term contracting headcount steady (63.2%), while just under a quarter (23.3%) of employers intend to increase their contractor base.
  • Employers in the Lower North Island have the most positive intentions to increase contracting employees at 26.4%, followed by the South Island (25.5%) and the Upper North Island (19.2%). Interestingly, employers in the Lower North Island also have the strongest intentions to decrease contracting headcount at 18.1%.
  • Financial Services is the most optimistic profession in terms of increasing contracting hires next quarter (34.3%), and is the only industry to report increasing hiring intentions for contractors.
  • The Accounting & Finance profession is reporting the strongest intentions to decrease contracting headcount (19.9%), followed by ICT (14.9%) and Office Support (14.1%).
  • More employers intend to decrease headcount than increase staff in Office Support and Accounting & Finance.

Insights

  • The emphasis in the contracting market is moving from hourly or day rates towards fixed term contracts which are believed to offer better financial value particularly when a project has a defined timeline.

    This fixed term approach is proving popular across many organisations, particularly in government. Opting for a fixed term contractor over an hourly rate has pros and cons for employers. While a fixed term contractor is generally a lower cost investment, the candidate market is not so developed and the resource not as flexible to scale up or down.

    Capability and capacity requirements are influencing demands for contractors. The Government recently stated that specialist skills were needed for the rebuild of Christchurch, the design of the Deposit Guarantee Scheme, and on multi-billion dollar IT projects. There are many large-scale technological projects to be completed so the increased spending on contractors would continue for several years.17


    17 The New Zealand Herald, Govt depts clock up $1bn in consultant fees, viewed 12 September 2012.

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Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON) offers highly specialised professional recruitment, recruitment outsourcing, talent management and related staffing services and solutions. Clients partnering with Hudson achieve greater organisational performance by attracting, selecting, engaging and developing the best talent for their business. With a global presence of more than 2,000 employees operating in approximately 20 countries, Hudson delivers great people and great performance.