Employers upbeat ahead of 2015 as momentum grows in Auckland

Hiring sentiment is at its highest level in five years as an increasing number of employers look to grow their teams in 2015, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released today.

A net 28.1% of employers across the country intend to increase permanent staff numbers in the first quarter of the year, up four percentage points (pp) compared to the previous quarter, and up 6.2pp compared to the same time last year.

This result is largely being driven by rising expectations in the Upper North Island where employer sentiment has steadily increased over the past 12 months, up 7.9pp since the beginning of the year.

“The Canterbury re-build continues to be a strong force in driving growth, but the real story this quarter is the increasing role of Auckland and its investment in property, construction and manufacturing, in leading the employment charge,” said Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.

“More generally, the balance of economic indicators in 2014 has set us up for a stronger, more consistent year ahead and we expect the current levels of optimism and hiring to hold steady in 2015.”

At 5.4%, the unemployment rate continues to fall, and with net migration on the rise, the Hudson Report also provides plenty to smile about for employees.

“We can expect to see skills shortages start to bite, resulting in a greater use of temporary and contract workforce and creating pressure on salary and wages. This is great news for jobseekers and employees looking for more flexibility in their working conditions or to meet their salary goals.”

Hiring intentions by region

Net hiring sentiment in the South Island remains the strongest nationally, with a net 42.2% of employers intending to increase headcount, up 8.6pp compared to the previous quarter.

“The Canterbury re-build continues to drive employment demand and this quarter has seen a significant increase in investment in commercial buildings and large amounts of residential subdivisions being developed.

“Overall, hiring intentions are tending to fluctuate and this is related to the staggered hiring requirements that come with large tenders being won in the market, project milestones being reached and the fact that many organisations oscillate between using in-house resource and consultancies to meet demand.”

Roles in demand are those linked to revenue generation within the property and construction sector such as quantity surveyors, project managers and contracts managers.

Employer sentiment in Upper North Island continues to gain momentum, with a net 26.5% of employers intending to increase head count.

“Investment in construction, housing, manufacturing and supply chain are all major drivers behind increased optimism in this region right now,” said Rogers.

“We also expect there to be a lift in demand for talent in the financial sector as a result of increasing domestic consumption[4] and low interest rates.”

Net sentiment in Lower North Island remains steady-as-she-goes, dropping 1.4pp, with a net 17.6% of employers looking to increase headcount this quarter.

Permanent & contracting hiring intentions by profession

Nationwide, Human Resources is the profession with the strongest positive hiring sentiment (43.2%), followed by Supply Chain & Procurement (33.8%), Financial Services (31.7%), Information, Communication & Technology (28.8%), Office Support (20.6%), and Accounting & Finance (8.8%).

“We continue to see a trend in Financial Services where innovation is critical to success and there is therefore great demand for product and service development roles, business improvement specialists and operational risk & compliance.”

“Investment in customer contact centres is driving demand in Office Support (up 7.9pp), and there is also an increased demand for senior executive assistants, suggesting that senior leaders are not only busier but feeling comfortable in their ability to justify the added resource,” said Rogers.

Overall, net contractor hiring sentiment continues to rise, up 0.6pp to 14.7%, and Hudson expects to see this trend continue as skills shortages increase over time and employers struggle to fill gaps left by candidate movement and internal promotions.

Sentiment in Information, Communication & Technology remains strong across the board with net 20.5% hiring managers intending to increase contract headcount in their ICT teams.

“We’ve observed that the skills required for roles in this profession are becoming more specialised, hence the increasing use of contractors. Roles in demand are those tied to the systems development life cycle including business analysts, project managers, software developers and architects.”

“Twelve months ago businesses were very focused on the bottom line and were operating a very lean headcount. While undoubtedly this is still a focus, there has been a relaxation in terms of funding roles where specialist skills are required, and a realisation that the pool of talent has tightened.”

“The difficulty in finding specialist talent that thrives in an ever changing environment is only going to become more challenging, so it is critical employers move now to ensure they’re not caught short and can continue to deliver against their business strategy,” Rogers said.



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