Skilled workers in demand: New Zealand
Posted on February 12, 2015
The region’s unemployment rate has risen, but local business and recruitment leaders say there remains an increasing demand for highly skilled employees.
According to Statistics NZ figures, the unemployment rate in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne increased from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent in the final quarter of 2014, while the employment rate was 61.9 per cent.
There were 99,500 people employed in the two east coast regions in the December quarter, and 8400 unemployed.
Rachel Cornwall, managing director of Red Consultant Group in Havelock North, said there had been an increase in the number of high level jobs present in the job market as well as an increase in the number of people looking for work.
“From the position we are in, we have seen quite a lift [in employment] from the beginning of last year and that has continued,” she said.
“But it is still challenging times for anyone to win a top role.
“Although there are more employment opportunities, there are also more and more jobseekers out in the market seeking change.”
Ms Cornwall said the high saturation of jobseekers affected both potential employees and employers.
“It makes for quite a challenging employment market is you are a jobseeker but also if you are hiring as well.
“The size and scale of our economy means that there is not a huge turnover in roles. This is a good thing, it means we get longer tenure out of our managers, longer tenure out of our team leaders, longer tenure out of our workers, but it also means that when there is a good role available, there is a hell of a lot of interest.”
Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said the increase in unemployment was surprising given seasonal work levels increased in the region over summer but it could be explained by an increase in the number of people moving here from outside of Hawke’s Bay to take up skilled work.
“A few companies have recently told me they’ve had people with specific skills come from Auckland and elsewhere to take up key roles here,” Mr Walford said.
“They are promoting to their friends, back where they’ve come from, that Hawke’s Bay is a great place to live. That’s possibly why we’re getting more jobs on the market, increased employment but also increased unemployment.”
He said applicants from outside the region could pick up skilled roles ahead of local job seekers because employers were under pressure to hire people who offered the quickest “return on investment” – in other words those who didn’t need to go through extensive training.
Ms Cornwall said the increase in people looking for new work was mostly brought on by people seeking change.
“Post-recession there was a reluctance for people to change jobs, four or five years ago, and so they stayed longer.
“In people’s CVs, they may have stayed in a position for seven years where as previously they may have only stayed five. But now people are looking for change and they have got more confidence in the balance sheet and they have got more confidence with the way the economy works now,” she said.
“People are changing jobs with a higher frequency than we have seen in the past.”
Nationally the unemployment rate rose to 5.7 per cent in the three months to December 2014, the Statistics New Zealand data revealed.
Meanwhile the employment rate was at 65.7 per cent – up 1 per cent on the same quarter in 2013.
In the December 2014 quarter, 143,000 people were out of a job in New Zealand. This compared with the 2,375,000 who were employed.
The number of unemployed men rose by 5000 (to 66,000) and the number of unemployed women rose by 3000 (to 77,000) in this quarter.
Labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said there was a discrepancy in the number of people wanting jobs, versus the number of jobs available.
“Employment didn’t keep up with the record number of people entering the labour force, so even though employment growth was also strong over the quarter, the unemployment rate increased.”
New Zealanders were earning an average ordinary wage of $28.77 per hour – up 2.6 per cent.