Employers feeling confident ahead of 2015

Nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of employers intend to keep headcount steady this quarter, as the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released today marked a solid year of employment stability.

In quarter four, positive hiring intentions dipped 1 percentage point (pp) to 30.8%, the same level as early 2014. Intentions to keep headcount steady have risen 2.1pp in 2014, demonstrating a stable hiring outlook that has been a feature of this year’s business environment.

“2014 has been the year that New Zealand business needed,” said Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.

“Confidence levels have stabilised and employers are pleased to have had a year of consistent performance. They’re feeling more assured about the business environment going into the 2015 year and are now are beginning to demonstrate optimism in their hiring decisions.”

“The unemployment rate has continued to fall, and that backs up the ‘steady as she goes’, consistent but cautious approach to hiring we’ve seen, as organisations have slowly but surely added headcount quarter on quarter, in order to meet productivity goals and chase targets.”


Hiring intentions by region

The Canterbury rebuild continues to direct South Island hiring intentions, which remain the strongest across the regions. Positive hiring intentions however dropped 9.8pp to 38.4%, following a similar rebound in Q3 2014 and this, Rogers said, is the mark of what has been a lumpy year for Canterbury employers.

“The Canterbury rebuild, whilst gaining momentum is not a straight line function. The natural wax and wane of large projects continue to make it difficult for employers to accurately assess their required investment in headcount. This has flow-on effects for the supply chain and workforce planning of the broader economy supplying into the rebuild.”

Roles less in demand in Canterbury are those that are linked to Project Management Offices (PMOs), who are coming to the end of their rebuild activity.

Positive hiring intentions in Upper North Island have dropped slightly this quarter, down 1.2pp, with nearly two-thirds (63.6%) of employers intending to keep head count steady. Investment in infrastructure around housing and roadsremains a major focus in driving the region’s economy.

Intentions to increase headcount in theLower North Island are up 3.8pp this quarter, with the majority of employers (65.8%) keeping staffing levels steady.

“Employers have been awaiting the outcome of the General Election, putting a number of new projects on hold. We expect the region to remain moderate in its outlook, with business-as-usual work continuing for the time being.” said Rogers.


Permanent & contracting hiring intentions by profession

Nationwide, Technical & Engineering remains the profession with the strongest positive hiring intentions (50.6%), followed by:

  • Information, Communication & Technology (37.8%)
  • Sales, Marketing & Communications (37.5%)
  • Financial Services (34.2%)
  • Human Resources (32.0%)
  • Office Support (20.8%), and
  • Accounting & Finance (15.9%).


Permanent hiring intentions in Financial Services increased sharply, up 15.7pp to 34.2%; an increase that was mirrored in the contracting space where intentions also rose 5.7pp to 25.0%.

“We’re seeing a trend whereby financial institutions are under pressure to create unique selling points which deliver competitive advantage, and as a result, there is incredible demand for expertise in customer insights, and operational risk & compliance,” said Rogers.

Contract roles in demand in this profession include campaign managers, change managers, and operational risk & compliance.

Hiring in Information, Communication & Technology also remains strong across the board with 37.8% of employers looking to increase permanent headcount and one in three (33.3%) hiring managers intending to increase contract headcount in their ICT teams.

In ICT, the top three contract roles in demand include business analysts, project coordinators and those roles related to project infrastructure – system engineers, system administrators and technical analysts.

Overall, contractor hiring expectations continue to rise, up 2.1pp to 24.5%, and Hudson expects to see this trend continue as skills shortages increase overtime and employers struggle to fill gaps left by candidate movement and internal promotions.

“Business analysts are constantly in demand as organisations seek to better understand their customers so that they can deliver a better experience. Project work is also driving demand for contract resource, with administrative resource being required to get projects up and running quickly and efficiently,” Rogers said.  


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