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Job market on a high with record number of vacancies

Q1 job market update.

11 March 2022

The New Zealand job market finished 2021 on a high note, with the ball still firmly in the job hunters’ court, according to the analysis of 69,600 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 31 December (Q4).

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich said the total number of job listings in 2021 increased by 51 percent when compared with the year prior, while the national average salary jumped 5 percent year-on-year. ”2021 was a remarkable year for the job market, with listing numbers outperforming the most optimistic of predictions made at the beginning of the year.”

On the whole, Mr Tolich said Covid-19 continued to shake up the market in 2021, as it had in 2020. “Last year we saw some huge job listing fluctuations mostly due to the impact of the lockdowns. As the year came to a close, Q4 saw the market find its rhythm again with the market cooling off from the huge peaks we saw earlier in the year, to a more sustainable level of growth.”

Mr Tolich said in Q4, the number of job listings increased by 25 percent when compared with the same period in the year prior while the national average salary jumped 6 percent to reach a record-breaking $66,946. “This is the second record-breaking quarter in a row for salaries - another sign that the market is in good shape.”

Looking ahead to 2022, Mr Tolich said it’s still a job seekers’ market. “2021 was truly the year of the job hunter, with record-breaking listing numbers and salaries. Job hunters will be pleased to hear that this is still very much the case as we enter the new year.

“We’re still facing a massive candidate shortage which will not be alleviated until the borders are open again. This, paired with the all-time high average salaries and the increasing number of job listings mean job hunters are still very much in the driver's seat. There has never been a better time for Kiwis to check out the market and explore their options, or ask for a pay rise.”

Listings increase across the board

Looking around the country, Mr Tolich said Q4 saw an increase in listings in every region when compared with the same period in the year prior. “The largest percentage increases were seen outside of the main centres, in the West Coast (up 50%), Hawke’s Bay (up 39%), and Canterbury (up 36%) regions.”

Mr Tolich said breaking down the data by sector told the same story. “With the exception of architecture (down 17%) and property (down 7%), we saw a year-on-year increase in listings in every sector onsite in Q4, proving the job market’s strength.”

The biggest increase was seen in the science & technology category with a 60 percent increase in listings in Q4 when compared with the same period last year, which Mr Tolich said is a result of the booming tech industry.

“The number of job listings in the accounting, automotive, customer service, and HR & recruitment categories almost doubled in Q4 when compared with the same period in 2020, all seeing a 49 percent increase.”

Christchurch the fastest growing city

Of the main centres, Mr Tolich said Christchurch City saw the largest increase in listings in Q4, with a 35 percent year-on-year jump. “Listings in both Auckland City and the wider Auckland region increased by 17 percent year-on-year in Q4.

“In the Wellington region, job vacancies increased by 21 percent year-on-year in the last quarter. If we zoom in on the Wellington City district, we saw 12 percent more listings in Q4 when compared with the same period last year.”

Mr Tolich said Wellington City and Auckland City continued to be the highest-paid districts in Q4, with average salaries of $81,246 and $79,617 respectively.

The Christchurch job market is booming.

Record-breaking salaries show economy’s strength

The record-breaking national average salary was reflected around the country, with year-on-year increases seen in every region.

The largest increase in average pay was seen in the Auckland region with a whopping 9 percent year-on-year increase. “The Auckland region reached an average salary of $71,556 putting it just behind the Wellington region where the average salary was $73,570.”

Mr Tolich says paying more is proving to be an effective way to attract talent in the increasingly competitive market, pushing salaries up. “As the saying goes, money talks. Employers are clearly forking out more to lure and secure talent in an increasingly hot market.”

IT sector continues to pay the most

Mr Tolich said all five of the highest paying roles in Q4 were in the IT sector. “As we saw consistently throughout 2021, IT roles continued to pay the most, with the industry really feeling the brunt of the talent shortage and salaries spiking as a result.

“The average pay in the IT sector climbed 14 percent year-on-year in Q4 to reach a whopping $129,006 - that’s almost $47,000 more than the average salary.”

Mr Tolich said the legal sector saw the largest lift in pay in Q4, increasing by 19 percent year-on-year to reach $73,058.