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Job applications boom as market shakes off Covid - Q3 update

Q3 job market update

4 October 2022

The pandemic has finally lost its grip on the New Zealand employment market, with demand for roles up for the first time in two years. This is according to the analysis of over 79,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 30 September (Q3).

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director, Matt Tolich, said the latest data showed more New Zealanders are finding the confidence to apply for jobs now that all pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

“In Q3 we saw more Kiwi taking advantage of the current market conditions and checking out their options, with a nationwide 9 per cent year-on-year jump in the average number of applications per listing.”

Prior to Q3, Mr Tolich said the last time there was a year-on-year increase in demand for roles was in the third quarter of 2020, when average applications per listing jumped 11 per cent.

Looking around the country, Mr Tolich said that Gisborne (up 28%), Auckland (up 21%), and Wellington (up 16%) regions saw the biggest spikes in average applications per listings in Q3 when compared with the same period in 2021. “This was reflected around the country, with more job applicants in every region except Canterbury, Marlborough, Taranaki and Otago last quarter.”

Mr Tolich said it was a similar story across the sectors, with demand up in the vast majority of industries. “Our largest category, trades & services, saw a 14 per cent jump in the average number of applications per listing in Q3 when compared with the same quarter last year.

“The construction & roading and agriculture, fishing & forestry sectors saw demand spikes too, with respective 32 per cent and 35 per cent year-on-year jumps in average applications per listing.”

Mr Tolich said news of increased interest in roles would be welcome news for employers. “It has been a tough couple of years for Kiwi businesses trying to compete and win talent, so no doubt they’ll be stoked to hear there are finally more job seekers in the market.”

Listing numbers still above pre-Covid levels

Last quarter, Mr Tolich said the national number of jobs listed onsite showed no change when compared with the same period in 2021. “However, if we compare to the third quarter of 2019, we saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of job listings onsite.

“What we’re seeing here is the market levelling off after cycles of lockdowns followed by sugar rushes of pent-up demand over the past two years.”

Going into the warmer months, Mr Tolich said the number of hospitality & tourism roles climbed 46 per cent year-on-year in Q3 as Kiwi businesses looked to bolster their teams for the upcoming busy season. “In the Auckland region alone, hospitality and tourism roles jumped by a whopping 75 per cent year-on-year.”

Nationwide, Mr Tolich said retail (up 15%) and customer service (up 10%) listings also saw a big jump on the same period in 2021. “Aotearoa has well and truly opened back up and these sectors really make up the backbone of our Summer economy, so it’s no surprise they were the three to see a year-on-year increase.”

Breaking the data down by region, Mr Tolich said Otago saw more listings than ever before in Q3. “Northland, Taranaki, and West Coast also saw a year-on-year increase in listings last quarter, while every other region saw a drop.”

Market expected to see more changes in the coming months

In the last three months of the year, Mr Tolich said there may still be some big changes to come. “With an abundance of listings, it’s still a great time to be a job seeker and we reckon we’ll continue to see applications climb as Kiwi make the most of this.”

Mr Tolich said going forward the biggest change would likely be felt by employers. ”With more people in the market for a new job, paired with a significant number of migrants entering the country, businesses are now feeling some relief and we expect this to get even better over Summer.”

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