New Zealand’s job market ended 2018 on a positive note for job seekers with the largest increase in the national average wage since 2015, rising 1.1 per cent year-on-year to $61,082, according to an analysis of over 74,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs.
Trade Me Jobs’ Anna Miles said while the lift in wages is “modest” it’s promising for employees after three years of stagnant wage growth. “Wages in New Zealand have remained stubbornly low in recent years despite the cost of living in New Zealand increasing steadily during the same period. Throughout 2018 Kiwis saw a spike in petrol, property and rental prices, with little change to their pay packets. We’re sure job hunters will be pleased to see there is an opportunity to increase their pay if they want to make a move.”
Ms Miles said this increase is a result of the skill shortage. “Employers are finding it tough to find the right people and they’re having to put more money on the table to secure the candidates they want as the talent shortage continues. We expect to see wages rise more this year as employers try to woo the people they need away from their current jobs.
“While Auckland City continues to be the highest paying area in New Zealand at $72,299, overall Wellington is the highest paying region in the country with an average wage of $65,131 (up 0.4 per cent on 2017), followed closely by Auckland at $64,634 (up 0.8 per cent) and Taranaki at $58,687 (up 2.9 per cent).”
Rise in job vacancies
Ms Miles said the last three months of 2018 saw a “mild” increase in listings which means job seekers have more choice and employers will be working harder to get the best people.
“The number of jobs advertised on Trade Me Jobs was up 1.7 per cent on the year prior and most regions ended 2018 on a high.
“The North Island saw some phenomenal growth in the last quarter of the year. Job listings in Taranaki led the pack after a 30 per cent increase on 2017, along with Hawke’s Bay which was up 22.8 per cent while vacancies in Gisborne rose 20.3 per cent.” This continues recent trends where the regions continue to outperform the main centres.
The only regions to see reductions in the number of job listings year-on-year were Auckland (down 2.2%), Canterbury (down 7.5 per cent) and Marlborough (down 10.9 per cent). She added that Wellington did buck the main centre trend - up 3.7 per cent.
Good news for job hunters
“January and February are the biggest months for job hunters as thousands of Kiwis head back to work and decide to kick off the New Year with a new role.”
Ms Miles said those looking for their next step will be pleased to know it’s a good time to be looking. “With the average number of job applications down across the country, an increase in wages and more job listings, it’s a job hunter’s market.”
IT still the most lucrative career
“IT roles continue to dominate the highest paying roles on Trade Me Jobs, taking out the top five spots,” said Ms Miles.
IT architects topped the list with an average pay of $153,222 followed by IT management roles earning an average wage of $142,029.
“Skilled IT candidates are in high demand across the country and employers are offering more to secure talent with a 3.1 per cent increase in average pay to $110,657. If you’re in the IT industry and thinking about your next step, now is a good time to dust off your CV,” she added.
In the sectors
Ms Miles said the last three months of 2018 were a mixed bag with positive listing growth for retail (up 21.3 per cent), education (up 18.5 per cent) and government & council (up 12.6 per cent).
One industry which experienced a significant decrease was sales which fell 15 per cent on 2017.
Predictions for 2019
While 2018 ended the year with the ball firmly in the court of job seekers Ms Miles predicted a few changes for the New Year.
“Technology is going to continue to change the hiring process in 2019. Video interviewing will become more common and hiring managers will use it as an efficiency tool to decide who to invite in for face-to-face interviews. More companies will implement artificial intelligence (AI) into their business which may also filter into the hiring process,” she added.
Ms Miles said that employees are becoming more conscious of work-life balance and mental wellbeing. “Employers are likely to continue to improve benefits to keep employees healthy, motivated and engaged.”