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Jobs market continues to run hot, untouched by lockdown

New Zealand’s jobs market continued to go from strength to strength despite another nationwide lockdown.

7 October 2021

New Zealand’s jobs market continued to go from strength to strength despite another nationwide lockdown, with job listings up and the largest annual percentage jump in salary on record. That’s according to an analysis of over 78,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 30 September (Q3). 

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich said job listing numbers remained strong in Q3 and appeared unscathed from the lockdown restrictions. “Following on from a solid first half of the year, we saw a 46 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of jobs advertised on Trade Me in Q3. 

“We have seen a remarkable year-on-year increase in the number of job listings onsite since most of the country came out of lockdown, with a 26 per cent year-on-year jump in September alone. In fact, since most of New Zealand entered Alert Level 3, we have seen an average of over 1,000 jobs listed on Trade Me every weekday.”

Record breaking salaries show economy’s strength

Mr Tolich said the increase in job listings was not the only indication of the economy’s strength, with salaries also having a record-breaking quarter. “The national average pay reached an all-time high of $66,106 in Q3. This marks a phenomenal 8 per cent jump when compared with the same period last year, the largest annual percentage increase we have ever seen. 

“If we break down the salary data over the past six months, we can see the growth has been incremental, showing that salaries started to take off prior to the country going into Alert Level 4, and that the lockdown didn't slow them down.”

National average salary over the past six months (April-September 2021)
MonthNational Average Salary
April 2021April 2021$64,700$64,700
May 2021May 2021$65,000$65,000
June 2021June 2021$65,100$65,100
July 2021July 2021$66,600$66,600
August 2021August 2021$67,700$67,700
September 2021September 2021$67,400$67,400

Mr Tolich put the wage increases down to employers having to reach deeper into their pockets to combat current market conditions. “We’re still facing a massive candidate shortage which will not be alleviated until the borders are open again.” 

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

Looking at the market as a whole, Mr Tolich said if we reflect back to this time last year, it’s clear just how far we’ve come as an economy. “Spiking listing numbers and record wages show that employers are feeling confident in our economy and putting their money where their mouth is. 

“Without a doubt there’s still uncertainty but one thing is clear, job seekers are still in the driver's seat. With an abundance of options and salaries at an all time high, it’s a great time to be looking for a new role.”

Main centres going strong

After lagging behind regional New Zealand for the first half of the year, Auckland and Wellington had a strong Q3, seeing listings increase by 48 and 43 per cent year-on-year respectively. 

Mr Tolich said the Auckland and Wellington regions also saw the biggest year-on-year lift in pay last quarter. “Despite being in lockdown for most of the quarter, the Auckland region experienced a whopping 12 per cent year-on-year increase in average pay to reach a new record of $72,134 per year.” 

The Wellington region saw a slightly smaller increase of 9 per cent year-on-year, but continued to be the highest paying region in the country, with an average wage of $74,182 per year. 

“The increase in listings in the main centres will be music to local’s ears. Both cities' thriving hospitality and tourism industries have been hit hard by the border closure and Auckland has had a particularly rough couple of years with extended lockdowns, so it’s a relief to see their job markets looking more vibrant in Q3.”

Reflecting the national trend, Mr Tolich said a number of regions saw job vacancies double in Q3 when compared with the same period last year. “Canterbury and Otago saw the largest uplifts in listings, both increasing by 53 per cent year-on-year. Nelson/Tasman was close behind, with listings up by 52 per cent when compared with Q3 2020.”

IT sector continues to pay the most

Mr Tolich said all five of the highest paying roles in Q3 were in the IT sector. “As we have seen consistently over the previous year, IT roles continued to pay the most. The tech industry is really feeling the brunt of the talent shortage and salaries are skyrocketing as a result. The average pay in the IT sector climbed 17 per cent year-on-year in Q3 to reach $129,668 .”

Other categories that saw the biggest pay growth in Q3 when compared with the same period in 2020 were Banking, Finance & Insurance (15%) and Legal (12%). “These are two other industries that are being heavily impacted by the talent shortages, with a number of roles that require specific skills and are proving tricky to fill in the current market.” 

Mr Tolich said other sectors that saw average pay increase by more than 10 per cent year-on-year in Q3 were Accounting (11%) and Construction & Roading (11%).”