Employment Report shows positive outlook for job seekers in South

It's buyers’ choice in the Southland job market, with the region recording the greatest jump in ad volume in New Zealand since July.

According to the latest Seek NZ Employment Report, job ads in Southland grew by 9% from July to August 2023 — although it is still one of the smallest regions in terms of ad volume.

Southland Business Chamber board president Neil McAra said it was a positive sign employers were keen to employ new people, but it was always a struggle to attract people to regional New Zealand. "I think a number of sectors that Southland is heavy on when you look at the agriculture sector, dairy, sheep and beef at the moment are facing a financially tough year ... they are managing through and trying to keep the budgets under control, that’s why probably the volume is low at this point in time."

He said there was a positive outlook for the region, and plenty of opportunity for both employees and employers.

"You’ve got some tighter times in the agriculture sector and the election to get past, and hopefully once those two show some positivity we’ll see some employment growth."

Nationwide, job ad volumes increased for the first time since March, rising 2% month on month, and applications per job ad also increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising the same percentage.

Nine regions recorded increased job ad volumes in August, with Auckland at 3%, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu at 7%, the greatest contributors to overall growth.

Gisborne (-8%) and West Coast (-4%) recorded the greatest decline, and job ads in the cities grew to a greater degree than the regional areas with urban roles rising 3% month on month and those outside the major cities rising just 0.6%.

Applications per job ad rose in many regions, the greatest being in Northland (13%), Gisborne (10%) and Otago (10%).

Seek country manager Rob Clark said the trends were unusual.

"Typically, leading into a general election, we would expect to see a dip in hiring activity as businesses put plans on hold. Yet it is one month out from the election and hiring activity has picked up. Businesses are beginning to plan for a busy lead-in to summer with demand for workers rising for the first time in five months."

Nationwide, advertised salaries have risen 5.1% in the year to the August quarter 2023, the fastest advertised salary growth on record since data began being collection n 2016.

Mr Clark said advertised salary growth in New Zealand remained strong despite the slowing economy, and were outpacing salary growth in Australia.