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Job Market Insights Report | 2024

80% of Kiwi open to a new role, according to Trade Me Jobs survey

7 May 2024

Eight out of ten Kiwi are open to new job opportunities, motivated by better career prospects and higher pay, according to a new Trade Me survey.

Trade Me Jobs’ seventh annual Jobs Market Insights Report sought to explore the attitudes of job seekers and employers. It found that 83 per cent of respondents were open to new employment opportunities, up nine percent on the previous year, with those actively looking and applying for new jobs increasing from 11 per cent to 20 per cent. The number of people not looking at all dropped from 26 per cent to 17 per cent.

The survey comes against a backdrop of creeping unemployment figures and recent elevated levels of migration, says Trade Me’s Matt Tolich. “The labour market is rebalancing more in favour of employers. This means job hunters are having to work harder to stand out in a crowded market, and may not have the same negotiating power they did in the past.”

Better career prospects were cited as the number one motivation when looking for a new role, jumping from third, an increase of eight per cent on the previous year. When asked what they would find most valuable in a new role, 41% of respondents wanted more responsibility and an opportunity to develop skills, and 28% wanted to take a step up.

Matt Tolich says this reflects a shift in mindset for job hunters. “While salary is still incredibly important, especially when making a decision to accept an offer, it suggests that people are more interested in opportunities for growth and development and the ability to build their skills and experience for long term career advantage.”

Exits driven by burnout and toxic culture

When asked why they left their most recent role, people said they were unhappy with the culture (56 per cent), felt undervalued (46 per cent) and didn’t find work fulfilling (44 per cent). “The top four reasons cited for leaving are often intertwined. People feeling overworked and undervalued may be laddering up into disillusionment around the culture and their day-to-day experience of how the business operates,” said Matt Tolich.

The survey found 40 per cent of respondents said they left because of burnout, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year. “With a stretched economy, it's easy, and sometimes necessary, for businesses to ask more from staff - but staff are also feeling the weight of the economy in their personal lives as well; so this pressure can really take a toll,” said Matt Tolich. “With higher interest rates, the impact of inflation seen in higher costs of living, it’s harder for people to feel like they are getting ahead.”

The burnout and culture figures come in spite of 84 per cent of employers saying they are prioritising workplace culture in order to retain staff. “This suggests a bit of disconnect between what employers are offering and what employees might be experiencing,” said Matt Tolich.

“For employers looking to improve culture and hold onto talent, it’s worth talking to staff and asking their views. This is where engagement surveys can be valuable in providing insights into employee experience. Examining company values and behaviours can also help to focus on improving culture, as well as looking at individual job design, and the training and career progression employees are telling us they really want.”

Work life balance and flexibility

When considering accepting a role, employees value a combination of salary (the most popular point of consideration, at 66 per cent) and stability (the second most popular, at 58 per cent), reflecting the current economic stretch employees are feeling in their personal lives, says Tolich. Work life balance was the third most popular consideration, at 46 per cent. “People don’t want to be working longer hours than necessary, and to have the ability to switch off and enjoy weekends.”.

The survey revealed 24 per cent of respondents said they valued being able to control their hours and output, and 19 per cent wanted flexible hours. “Interestingly, flexibility doesn’t always mean work from home, which is often not an option for hands on workers - just 14 per cent of those surveyed cited working from home in their top five priorities when considering a role. “Flexibility can mean different things to different people. It might mean being able to pick up the kids from school one day a week, or take time to attend a doctor’s appointment during the day.”

Tips for job seekers

Trade Me’s Matt Tolich suggests the following tips for job seekers looking to stand out in a flooded market.

Specialist support

“Reach out to a recruitment specialist for support. Arrange a face to face meeting if you can and ask for some advice on your CV.”

Put your best foot forward online

“It’s a good idea to make sure your online profile is up to date and while you’re doing that, ensure you have a clean social media footprint.”

Tailor your application

“We also recommend carefully tailoring your CV and cover letter to the job you’re applying for. This does take time and effort but it’s often necessary to demonstrate that you have the competencies and fit that employers are looking for.”

Helpful resources

“There’s heaps of helpful resources online at Trade Me jobs including things like how to create a stand-out CV and how to prepare for an interview.”

About the Trade Me Jobs Market Insights Report

This survey was conducted by Trade Me during January 2024 and collates answers from 2235 individual New Zealand-based respondents as well as 262 recruiters and business owners who had listed one or more jobs on Trade Me in the past 12 months. Figures are compared with the previous year’s survey in January 2023. The full report is available here.