Job opportunities rise in New Zealand as unemployment falls

by Ray Clancy on August 18, 2016

Job opportunities are growing in New Zealand with some parts of the country seeing unemployment fall to the lowest it has been since 2008.

Official figure shows that the unemployment rate decreased to 5.1% in the second quarter of 2016 and more women are employed.

Hiring‘Compared with June 2015, there were 8,000 fewer unemployed women, and their unemployment rate fell from 6.2% to 5.4%,’ said Mark Gordon, labour and income statistics manager at Statistics New Zealand.

In unadjusted terms, unemployment was down from a year ago across many North Island regions, including Auckland, which had an unemployment rate of 4.7% in the June 2016 quarter, the lowest since the September 2008 quarter when it was 4.1%.

The June 2016 quarter results indicate that 66.2% of the working age population were employed. Compared with the March 2016 quarter, there were 58,000 more employed people, a rise of 2.4%.

Meanwhile, the latest data from employment firm SEEK shows that there were 4.8% more jobs advertised in July 2016 than 12 months ago with the most positions available in ICT, trades and services and administration and office support.

The most in-demand skills for the ICT industry at present are developers, programmers, business systems analysts and project managers, but there are fewer opportunities for hardware engineers, technical writers and computer operators.

According to SEEK New Zealand general manager Janet Faulding, one reason for the growth in ICT is that many New Zealand companies are now tapping into the overseas markets to grow their businesses, plus investing in new technology and infrastructure to be competitive, and consequently they require ICT talent to help them thrive.

The data also shows that Auckland job adverts increased by 5.4% year on year in July, while in Wellington job adverts were up 4.5% after a period of weakness earlier this year and last year. But Canterbury still remains New Zealand’s weakest major region, with job adverts down 12.6% year on year.

‘The Canterbury labour market has been subdued since March 2015, almost 18 months. The job market in this region was supported by the earthquake rebuild, however with that slowing we’ve seen low year on year job advert volumes,’ Faulding explained.

For job seekers in Auckland and Wellington, year on year there is a reasonable balance between jobs advertised and candidates applying. While in Canterbury it remains an employer’s market, for each job advertised there is a higher than average number of candidates applying, creating more competition for job seekers but providing employers with a larger pool of candidates to choose from.

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