Canterbury rebuild stimulates labour market

Overall net 22% of employers are planning to increase their permanent staffing levels during the next quarter, up two percentage points from the previous quarter survey, with the rebuild of Canterbury helping to stimulate the labour market. Marc Burrage, Hudson New Zealand’s executive general manager, says the overall trend line of employer sentiment has been steadily tracking up since its lowest point in April to June 2009.

As Christchurch rebuilds, hiring intentions in the South Island are particularly strong. net 42.8% of employers are planning to increase their levels of permanent resource, up 20 percentage points compared to before the first earthquake. The building and construction industry is at record high levels of sentiment in this region, with supporting industries like manufacturing, information technology and utilities also strong – not only in Canterbury but also nationwide as many resources are diverted south.

The largest regional decline in hiring intentions is in the lower North Island, driven by the continuing squeeze on government employers and the flow-on effects this has on related businesses supporting the public sector.

In the contracting/temporary recruitment area, six out of 10 employers are planning to hold their staffing levels steady, and net 12.4% are planning to increase their teams. This is slightly down compared to last year, driven by big decreases in the wholesale/distribution and financial services/insurance industries. Many companies involved in rebuilding Canterbury are choosing to employ permanent staff in roles they would have formerly used contractors for, purely because of the long-term nature of the work, says Burrage.

“What is clear from talking to our clients throughout New Zealand is that the majority of businesses are becoming adept, flexible and resilient in spite of changing, and often challenging, conditions. Despite recent economic hardship and natural disaster, there is still fire in the belly and desire to keep growing business.”

• Copies of the Hudson Report are available at


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