Demand For Talent at Six-Year High as Job Market Continues to Surge

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New Zealand – 19 January 2016 – New Zealand employers’ intent to hire has reached a six-year high according to the latest Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016 released today[1], with 92.5% planning to increase or maintain headcount in the first half of the year.

Survey results also indicate that 63% of the New Zealand workforce will be open to new opportunities  in 2016, creating an increasingly fluid job market.

The Hudson Report, which monitors employer hiring intentions across New Zealand, has been expanded to include data on job seekers and their career plans, providing a complete picture of the 2016 New Zealand talent market.

The six-year peak is bolstered by a surge of growth across industries that have been somewhat muted in the past, said Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.

“What we’re seeing is other sectors starting to pull their weight including manufacturing, transport, tourism, financial services and, chiefly, IT has regained momentum,” Mr Rogers said.

Employers in the IT industry dominate the latest figures, with a net 40.7% looking to increase or maintain permanent headcount across all three of the main metropolitan centres; Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with tech businesses booming in the Auckland and Christchurch hubs, and government projects behind the growth in Wellington.

“Organisations are looking to bring greater efficiencies to what they do, and if they’re not, then their customers are demanding it,” he says.

“There is a lack of tolerance for organisations that are antiquated with their technology. We are seeing a real groundswell to keep pace with that demand, with organisations recognising the need to invest in IT in order to stay relevant,” Mr Rogers says.

Organisational growth has been cited by employers as the number one reason to add to headcount (52%), followed by increased workload (43%).

“Growth is a good problem to have, it reflects a positive economy. While it makes talent attraction harder, it also means more customers and revenue for your business. The key is to plan for this uptick in economic and hiring activity so you aren’t caught short,” Mr Rogers says.

Geographically, people working in Construction, Property and Engineering sector are in high demand in both Auckland (net 43.6%) and Christchurch (net 30.7%), reflecting growth in infrastructure and the nationwide push to fill the housing shortage.

“Large scale projects in each of the three major cities will continue to drive that trajectory. In Christchurch there is still the rebuild and a number of years’ worth of investment. Projects of national importance are evident across the country; Auckland is dotted with road projects, there’s a new wave of investment in the CBD and ongoing property projects as a flow-on from the housing shortage,” Mr Rogers says.

The War for Talent: The Ceasefire is Over

With hiring sentiment indicating a return of the “war for talent”, employers must be proactive with attraction, retention and engagement strategies, he says.

An overwhelming 85% of professionals surveyed would move industries for the right role and 46% would move countries.

“New Zealand’s workforce is particularly inquisitive. And there is a pent up appetite for change that perhaps hasn’t been satisfied in the last three to four years due to things like organisations maintaining a focus on cost, and lower consumer confidence levels,” Mr Rogers says.

The most common drive for change amongst professionals is the feeling of boredom and the need for a new challenge, with 26% of respondents saying they would move jobs as a result.

“This stems from a fundamental engagement issue that New Zealand has battled with for some time. When we look at what drives boredom, there are typically three things that employees want in their jobs: to feel as though they’re contributing, to feel that their role is meaningful, and to feel that they’re successful. If these elements are lacking then employees will start to look elsewhere,” Mr Rogers says.

The Flight Risk

Australia continues to top the list of places Kiwis would relocate to at 47%, but, as net migration figures[2]show, there is also a large contingent of Kiwis wanting to return home.

“The reality of moving is that it is not that easy. People need to do their due diligence. Lower salaries and the cost of housing is challenging for people wanting to move back to New Zealand,” Mr Rogers says.

And although many job seekers look to Australia for more senior and more specialised roles, with unemployment both there and in New Zealand at 6%,[3] New Zealanders will find strong competition from the local market.

The preference to relocate overseas is heavily weighted in Generations X (41%) and Y (59%), with Baby Boomers (38%) more likely to want to stay put.

“It is characteristic of peoples’ life stages, although we are beginning to see that desire to head overseas delayed until people hit their late 20s and early 30s. Couples that have gained qualifications and sector experience are deciding to do their OEs together having held off in recent years,” Mr Rogers says.

Push and Pull Factors

Employees looking to jump ship are most likely to do so for the right salary (57%), followed closely by work life balance (51%).

“There is an expectation that employers will open their wallets in 2016. In the past few years, employees have anticipated increased remuneration, but those expectations haven’t been met.”

“There is a sense this is changing, and if an organisation is willing to pay above market value for a role, that could be quite compelling, especially among the younger workforce,” Mr Rogers says.

Additionally, cost-conscious employers have in recent years avoided increasing headcount, resulting in current staff being stretched to the point of looking for new work.

“We’ve found that employees are working incrementally more each year to cover the talent shortfall, but the good news is that a significant number of organisations are investing in new people to alleviate that pressure.”

“The rise of Human Resources (50%) to top the list of professions adding to headcount in 2016 is indicative of strong business growth and an increased willingness to invest in people,” Mr Rogers said.

HR is a profession that has been underinvested in for a long time, but is currently undergoing somewhat of a resurgence. Implementing programs to lift employee engagement and partnering with the business to identify the next generation of leaders will be key priorities in 2016.

1 Hudson canvassed the views of 1,188 employers and 1,286 employees in November 2015.

2 Statistics New Zealand, International Travel and Migration, Oct 2015. http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/Migration/IntTravelAndMigration_HOTPOct15.aspx

3Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force, Nov 2015 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/6202.0 and New Zealand Labour Market Statistics, Sept 2015, http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPSep15qtr.aspx

Demand For Talent at Six-Year High as Job Market Continues to Surge

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