Hiring Outlook in New Zealand Softens but Spurred by Mining, Construction and Technology is Stronger than International Markets

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By Sunny Peter | September 11, 2013 5:45 PM EST

Employment Outlook Survey of New Zealand reveals a moderate fall, in hiring, in the country for the coming fourth quarter of 2013. This follows, two quarters of marginally more optimistic results, according to, survey data released by, ManpowerGroup. However, the survey finds that the pace of hiring will continue to remain stronger when compared to the international market.

Accordingly to the survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, the New Zealand Net Employment Outlook dropped five percentage points from last quarter to +17 per cent, a one percentage point drop year on year. On an optimistic note, the survey finds indications from employers that the pace of hiring will continue to remain stronger, compared to most of the 42 countries that are part of the quarterly research conducted by the global workforce solutions firm.

Quarterly hiring intentions of nearly 650 New Zealand employers are covered under the survey. The survey found that in the coming quarter, 27 per cent plan to increase hiring, whereas, 64 per cent plan to make no changes and just nine per cent plan to decrease recruitments. The release quoted Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand, as saying that sentiment remained upbeat despite the fall in outlook. The business community was performing strongly especially when compared to global results.

The release said, Australia for example, recorded a Net Employment Outlook of just +3 percentage points.

"There is still plenty of job growth and opportunity across New Zealand. On the ground we're hearing that employers are positive about the market and overall growth opportunities for the coming quarter," Crawley said. "Similar to last quarter, increased activity in construction for the Christchurch rebuild and also in domestic housing and infrastructure developments in Auckland mean there is a growing need for workers," he said.

"A sustained level of activity in the real estate sector is also helping to generate confidence among business owners and fuel steady streams of hiring, which, in turn, creates further activity in the economy," Crawley said. Broken down by sectors, the survey finds, employers in transportation & utilities sector report the largest fall in outlook; the forecast of +24% is a decline of 14 per cent points from last quarter.

In the manufacturing sector too, outlook has weakened, with employer hiring sentiment falling eight percentage points to a Net Employment Outlook of +8 per cent. Employers across the finance, insurance and real estate; wholesale trade and retail trade; and services expressed caution. Outlooks in these sectors slipped six per cent points to +26 per cent; five percentage points to +14 per cent and four percentage points to +22 per cent, respectively.

On the flipside, forecast for the mining & construction showed positive growth. Employers in the sector reported a seven percent point outlook increase of +30 per cent. However, the survey found no change in the public administration and education sector, which maintained a Net Employment Outlook of +16%.

Location-wise data shows employers in Christchurch report a Net Employment Outlook of +22%, a gain of three percentage points. Meanwhile, employers in Auckland reported six percentage points drop, resulting in an Outlook of +16 per cent, while employers in Wellington reported 11 percentage points drop to +14 per cent.The survey also found jobs market hot-spots in emerging sectors such as technology, and this is fuelling positive growth, in the broader employment market.

"New Zealand is experiencing a transformation of its growth model, with the emerging information technology and innovation sectors gaining weight in the labour market while some areas in traditional sectors, like manufacturing, weaken," Crawley said. 

"We are seeing New Zealand's business conditions becoming more bullish and anticipate the unemployment rate will begin to fall next year as latent businesses follow the growth trends." 

"Ultimately, we see this as a positive outlook for both business and job seekers," Crawley added.

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