Where the jobs are: New Zealand’s high-skill industries drive staffing demand

Jobs are being created in high-skill industries such as construction, IT and finance, but according to recruiting experts Hays the number of quality candidates is falling as competition for talent heats up.

In their Hays Quarterly Report for October – December 2014, released today, the recruiter shows that an increasingly long list of skills is needed in high-skill industries.

“Business confidenceis increasing and employers are looking to hire more staff in permanent roles,”says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. 

“The greatest demand is in the construction industry. Infrastructuredevelopments, activity in the civil sector, a busy commercial construction market, a pick up in the housing sector, and of course the Christchurch rebuild are all fuelling staffing demand.

“Other high-skill industries, like IT, finance and professional services, are also actively hiring skilled professionals.”

According to Jason, this staffing demand will intensify in the three months ahead: “As Christmas approaches both public and private sector organisations are ramping up their recruitment efforts in order to ensure they start the New Year on the front foot.”

The growing demand for talent is supported by findings in the 2014 Hays Global Skills Index, which revealed that wage pressure in New Zealand’s high-skill industries (such as engineering, construction, IT and finance), is the main pressure point in the local labour market.  In fact, New Zealand was given a score of 10.0 – the highest of the 31 countries in the Index – for wage pressure in high-skill industries.  

According to the Hays Quarterly Reportfor October – December 2014, employers need the following in-demand skills:


Hays Accountancy & Finance – commerce & industry

  • Assistant Accountants– There is currently high demand from SMEs for candidates with the skills and experience to work in small accountancy teams.
  • Business Analysts– Analysts with strong Excel skills and commercial experience in large complex businesses are in demand.
  • Management Accountants – The ongoing rebuild in Christchurch is creating a focus on forward-looking accounting functions such as budgeting and forecasting, as well as scenario planning and modelling.


Hays Accountancy & Finance – professional practice

  • Senior and Intermediate Accountants Business Advisory Services – Candidates who can offer value added services to generate new business are highly sought after.
  • SeniorAuditors – Ongoing turnover and the desire to learn more practical accounting continues to fuel a shortage of Senior Auditors.
  • Xero specialists– As more and more practices are moving clients over to Xero accounting software, candidates with strong experience in this area are needed.


Hays Architecture

  • Senior Revit Technicians–There has been a shift in the preferred software within the industry and this has resulted in a greater need for Senior Revit Technicians with some mentoring experience.
  • Registered Architects – By having NZIA authority to sign off projects, these candidates are crucial to running a practice effectively.
  • Project Architects – Candidates with a niche in heritage buildings or high density residential projects are sought.


Hays Construction


  • Project Engineers – Auckland’s increase in large civil roading projects has led to strong demand for tertiary qualified Project Engineers with roading and infrastructure experience.
  • Project Managers– Residential demand for Project Managers is expected to rival that of Quantity Surveyors as Auckland’s housing market continues to grow.
  • Earthworks Supervisors–Due to the massive volume of subdivision work being undertaken throughout Auckland, employers are now struggling to resource the supervision necessary for delivery of projects.


  • Site Managers – Qualified Site Managers with experience running projects in excess of $50 million in Christchurch are in demand.
  • Site Engineers– Candidates with drainage, roading and larger infrastructure project experience are required for the civil sector in Christchurch due to the variety of public works projects underway. In addition, the Ultra Fast Broadband network is currently being laid throughout the city.
  • Quantity Surveyors/Estimators– There is currently a significant shortage of candidates with New Zealand experience available in Christchurch.


Hays Contact Centres

  • Technical Customer Service –Companies with technical product offerings are looking for skilled candidates who can provide a superior service to their customers.
  • Inbound Sales/Retention –Companies are looking for people who can identify sales opportunities on the first call while retaining strong customer service.
  • Collections– As companies try to maximize revenue collections, candidates are highly sought after to reduce debt owing.


Hays Energy

  • Glove and Barrier Line Mechanics– A shortage of skilled and New Zealand qualified Line workers means they are always in demand.
  • Substation Project Managers – Managerswith construction and electrical high voltage skills are highly sought, especially in rural locations.
  • Qualified 33kv+ Cable Jointers– These professionals are currently needed for underground cabling work in Christchurch and Auckland.


Hays Engineering

  • Civil Design Engineers–The land development sector in Wellington and Christchurch needs Civil Designers and licensed Cadastral Surveyors for new subdivision projects.
  • Civil Engineers–Transportation Engineers with experience in design and management of highways, drainage and civil structures are needed in Wellington. In Christchurch demand continues for Engineers with transport, drainage and utilities, and infrastructure design project management experience.
  • M&E Design Engineers– The building services market continues to grow as more buildings across the country are upgraded or have seismic assessments. Infrastructure projects and ongoing new build work have added to demand.


Hays Facilities Management

  • HVAC Service Technicians– There is a shortage of qualified and experienced Service Technicians with the necessary technical knowledge and communications skills.         
  • Intermediate Property/Facilities Managers– Various companies are looking to hire people who can manage properties in their growing portfolios.


Hays Human Resources

  • HR Business Partners–Candidates with commercial sector experience and a good depth and breadth of generalist experience are highly sought after.
  • WHS Practitioners and Contractors –Given ongoing legislative changes, candidates in the workplace health & safety space are required to give assurance to the board on compliance issues.
  • Senior HR Advisors –Experienced standalone HR Advisors with the ability to coach managers and resolve challenging employment relations issues are held in high regard.


Hays Information Technology

  • Mobile Developers–Candidates with a Java background, iOS and Android development skills and commercial experience are highly sought after in Auckland.
  • Test Analysts– Specialists with SOAP UI skills are currently in demand for big banking projects. Experience with mobile applications and automation is also highly sought.
  • Business Analysts– Employers want candidates with both a functional ability and technical understanding. CRM Business Analysts are particularly sought after.


Hays Insurance

  • Claims staff – Demand remains for candidates to help clear the backlog of claims that occurred as a result of storms across the country earlier this year.   
  • Loss Adjustors – As change happens nationally, we have seen demand for Loss Adjustors in the commercial and domestic space.
  • Underwriters– Vacancies are becoming available in the rural and property sectors in response to both new job creation and staff resignations.


Hays Marketing

  • Digital Marketing Managers– There is an ever growing need for marketers who have digital experience and skills in many areas including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine advertising (SEA) and online advertising, as well as digital analytics.
  • Retail Marketing Specialists ­- Major retailers and their agencies are now recruiting contractors to drive their Christmas campaigns. This has also increased demand for talent in creative and production.


Hays Office Support

  • Executive Assistants – Employers look for specific skills within their industry, which reduces the number of candidates who are suitable.
  • Project Administrators – Construction companies require more experience than the market can deliver; candidates typically have three years’ experience as most entered the industry after the earthquake.
  • Legal Secretaries– The shortage of Legal Secretaries is an ongoing issue as turnover is low and companies are unwilling to invest in training entry-level staff.


Hays Property

  • Senior Property Managers –The general upswing in business activity is driving demand for Senior Property Managers. 
  • Project Managers–The earthquake re-strengthening drive in Wellington is increasing demand for client-side Project Managers.
  • Acquisition Consultants–Public sector work programmes are fuelling demand for candidates with Public Works Act experience.


Hays Sales

  • Business Development Managers– Candidates with a proven ability to grow businesses or enter into new markets are highly sought.
  • Sales Representatives– Businesses that are growing have a need for more on the road sales representatives.


Hays Trades & Labour


  • LBP Carpenters – With many newresidential and commercial projects underway in Auckland, there is a significant shortage of qualified carpenters.
  • Electricians– As many Electricians have been attracted to the higher rates of pay available in Christchurch, there is now a shortage of Electricians in Auckland.
  • Plumbers –There is also a shortage of qualified Plumbers due to the growth in Auckland. These professionals are required to certify completed plumbing work.


  • Construction Trades: Residential and Commercial Carpenters, Scaffolders (Advanced)– As the demand for re-build workers increases, civil construction professionals are needed.
  • New Zealand Qualified Electricians and Plumbers– There is a lack of available skilled Plumbers and Electricians as the course to convert qualifications only runs twice a year.
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