Firms' hiring intentions are showing signs of softening, though Canterbury is bucking the trend.
A survey of more than 1100 employers by recruitment firm Hudson found a net 18% plan to boost their staff numbers in the coming months, almost 5% fewer than the last quarter and 6% fewer than this time last year.
Hudson New Zealand executive general manager Roman Rogers says employers are mulling developments in Europe and carefully assessing employee numbers before hiring more staff.
However in the South Island, the rebuilding following the Canterbury earthquakes has driven an eight-year high in hiring intentions.
Mr Rogers says there has also been a lift in the lower North Island, through the government sector.
However the upper North Island has seen a softening in hiring intentions.
Mr Rogers expects high demand for certain roles like project managers in the construction and IT sectors.