New Zealand's job market bouncing back 'faster, better than expected' - Trade Me

New Zealand's job market appears to be bouncing back "faster and better than predicted" after COVID-19 - but experts are warning the worst may still be to come.

A recent analysis of Trade Me Jobs' 33,000 vacancies showed the job market is in better shape than expected after the COVID-19 pandemic hit businesses hard, leaving thousands out of work and companies reluctant to hire.

"There's no denying that the nationwide lockdown shook New Zealand's job market to its core, but we are already seeing a number of encouraging signs that it’s recovering faster and better than we predicted," Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade said. 

The site's June 2020 job listing numbers are significantly down on the same month last year, but are "remarkably better" when compared to the annual drop in April (-72 percent) and May (-52 percent).

But the hospitality and tourism sector saw job listings up almost 10 percent year on year.

"While hospitality and tourism saw one of the steepest year-on-year drops in job listings in March (-44 percent) and April (-89 percent), we actually saw an annual increase in vacancies in June, with job listings up 9 per cent when compared to the year prior.

"Many hospitality and tourism businesses would've had to act quickly to cut costs by reducing their headcount and cancelling any new hires they had planned at the beginning of lockdown.

"However, now that these businesses are able to open for business and Kiwis are taking the opportunity to explore their backyard, employers are having to bolster their teams to keep up with customers."

Other sectors which have also seen job listings up year-on-year in June were agriculture, fishing and forestry (up 37 percent), property (20 percent), and science and technology (29 percent).

Wade said they "are showing no signs of slowing down".

He said the increases will be welcome news to jobseekers made redundant by the pandemic. Trade Me Jobs has already seen a 61 percent in onsite applications year on year.

"With redundancies announced across the country and 25,000 New Zealanders returning from overseas, the demand and the competition for many roles is fierce.

"With job listings down and more job seekers in the market, demand from job seekers soared in a number of sectors too with architecture (+223 percent), sales (+117 percent), and marketing-media and communications (+152 percent) seeing the biggest increases over the last quarter."

One of the most popular jobs in 2020's second quarter was a work-from-home data entry role, which received over 5000 views and 853 applications.

But Wade says the increases may be short-lived.

"While there are some positive signs that the job market is on track to find its rhythm again, the worst may still be yet to come," he warned.

"Post-September could be the toughest for small businesses. It won't be until then, when the Government wage subsidy has run out, that we expect to see the real impact of COVID-19 on the market."