6 Oct 2015

Auckland jobseekers look for the exit

4:52 pm on 6 October 2015

The number of Aucklanders looking to leave the city and get jobs elsewhere is up by almost half from last year, new job figures from Trade Me show.

Sky Tower and Southern Motorway viewed from Hopetoun Street, Auckland.

Photo: AFP / Stuart Black / Robert Harding Premium / Robert Harding

The jobs portal said about 13 percent of applications sent by candidates in Auckland in the last 12 months were for jobs outside the region.

The number of Aucklanders applying for jobs in nearby Waikato, which boasts far more affordable housing, is up a staggering 81 percent from just a year ago.

Trade Me head of jobs Peter Osborne said the new figures matched increasing pressure on the cost of living in Auckland, where property prices and rents continue to rise.

"We've only just started tracking this, because obviously with house prices continuing to go on the rise, we thought it'd be interesting to look at.

"People are really feeling the pressure... and are very keen to look elsewhere," he said.

The number of Aucklanders applying for jobs in Canterbury is up 45 percent, and the number putting themselves forward for jobs in Bay of Plenty is up 32 percent.

"We've had the data for a while but it's only the first time we've looked to see if there's actually a trend for Aucklanders [looking] to live elsewhere.

"We were a little bit surprised... an increase of almost 50 percent was certainly a surprise for us," Mr Osborne said.

One major recruiting firm said confidence among Auckland job seekers had dwindled.

The managing director of Hays Recruitment in Auckland, Jason Walker, said local salaries were not going up like house prices were.

"Auckland is definitely treading water and confidence has dropped down quite a bit," he said.

"We're also seeing - because of house prices and opportunities in other regions - quite a significant spike in those looking to go to Tauranga and other parts of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty."

Job market 'running out of puff'

Trade Me said the number of new jobs was slowing after a strong run, and the number of new roles nationwide lifted only 1.2 percent from the same time last year.

"Over the last quarter, we certainly saw a bit of the hitting of the brakes," Mr Osborne said.

In the information technology sector, the number of of people applying for roles is up 78 percent but the number of jobs on offer has fallen by almost a third.

Trade Me said this meant employers will be less inclined to keep raising salaries to compete for staff, and IT job-seekers may find it harder to land their dream job because of increased competition.

"A reduction in the number of jobs advertised there will certainly have an impact on overall salaries," Mr Osborne said.

Opportunities in Waikato

Waikato Chambers of Commerce chief executive William Durning said the figures were not surprising.

"I think the people when they come down into the region, be it to Hamilton or to Waipa or South Waikato, they see so much opportunity, and that I think is the key.

"The region has great opportunity, and there are very clever people in Auckland that want to be a part of growing value and creating opportunity for themselves and their family."

Mr Durning said Waikato had good infrastructure being built making a "simple and viable" connection between Auckland and Hamilton.

"I think people have got the ability to reflect on the money that they've got to use and you definitely get good value for money in this part of the world.

"To see Aucklanders seeing opportunity down in Waikato - that they can contribute and add to - makes perfect sense to me," he said.

Pay falling

The pay for jobs listed on Trade Me is also going backwards in Auckland, and the site said this could lead to flow-on effects if it turns into a longer-term trend.

The average advertised pay in the largest city fell 4 percent.

Regions with highest average advertised pay:

  • Wellington City $75,484
  • Auckland City $71,546
  • Christchurch $58,266
  • Waikato $57,902
  • Central Hawke's Bay $57,735

Regions with lowest average advertised pay:

  • Tasman $49,279
  • Horowhenua $49,493
  • Hurunui (Canterbury) $49,726
  • Waimakariri (Canterbury) $49,769
  • Waitaki (Otago) $50,024