7 Apr 2015

Job listings on the rise

7:51 pm on 7 April 2015

The latest job figures show while postings for new listings aren't increasing at the same rate as last year, the country is on a strong economic footing.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Trade Me analysed more than 54,000 roles listed on its website in the first quarter and says it found an 8.5 percent increase in 12 out of the 15 regions.

Only Wellington, Gisborne and Taranaki were bucking the trend.

While the number of jobs was still going up, the pace was slowing on last years figures.

This was particularly evident in Canterbury, which experienced a six percent increase in the first quarter, compared to double digit growth last year.

The number of jobs listed in the capital also dropped six percent on last year, while Taranaki and Gisborne dropped 19 percent and three percent respectively.

Auckland, which accounted for about 40 percent of all job advertisements, had a 15 percent increase in listings.

Business New Zealand's chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the figures showed increased business confidence was continuing to translate into real jobs.

"As businesses become more confident about growth they hire and they hire in big numbers, and that's why you saw last year's big up-tick.

"Now you're seeing a renewed and ongoing level of confidence, sure at lower levels, but bear in mind the businesses hiring all the new staff last year are now looking at turnover of those staff, are looking at perhaps more moderate growth off a higher base."

Trade Me Jobs head Peter Osborne was reluctant to be drawn on the reasons for the decline in Taranaki.

"Taranaki was slightly more at about 20 percent which is not ideal. We don't know the exact reasons why, but we have seen reasonably subdued conditions in Taranaki recently.

"And Wellington we would attribute to a slight slow down in the government sector because IT and banking still remain quite strong," he said.

Taranki's Chamber of Commerce head Richard Williams said the decline was related to the oil and gas industry.

"This time last year - or quarter one 2014 - was hugely busy with the oil and gas business, which as we all know things have been put on hold, given the price of oil recently. But they are only on hold and they will come back," he says.

Mr Williams said he would like to see a comparison with other websites like Seek before commenting on whether the figure was a true reflection of the situation in the region.

At the other extreme, Bay of Plenty and Marlborough experienced a surge of 26 percent.

Overall, wages increased an average of 3.5 percent on last year, with Wellington, Auckland and the West Coast recording the highest average full-time salary.

Mr Osborne admitted the inclusion of Grey into the figures was a bit of a "outlier", but said it was likely to be due to a slight shift in the type of roles advertised to management or higher skilled roles.

"The overall level of demand for workers and supply of applicants/labour for the available roles hasn't shifted," he said.

The union representing the public sector wants the Government to scrap its cap on public servants following the announcement.

The Public Service Association's national secretary Erin Polaczuk said as a result of the cap there was now understaffing in the public service.

"We've seen a drop resourcing in the public sector, we've seen endless, or what seems like endless, public service restructuring which is not only bad for morale but also bad for the services they're trying to provide."

Across the Tasman

Meanwhile, a widely-watched Australian survey showed that job advertisements on that side of the Tasman fell in March after nine previous months of gains.

ANZ's Australian job ads survey recorded a 1.4 per cent fall last month, with both internet and newspaper ads declining.

But the more stable trend data rose again for the 17th consecutive month, with job ads up 9.3 per cent over the past year.

ANZ's Australian chief economist Warren Hogan said the number of new jobs appeared to be failing to keep up with population growth and peak growth in job advertisements may had now passed.

Other sectors of the Australian economy may not be able to absorb workers being laid off in mining and manufacturing.

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