'Jobseeker's market': Number of online jobs bounces back after COVID-19

Person looking for jobs online
Latest data from online employment website SEEK indicates it's a good time to be a jobseeker. Photo credit: Getty Images.

A sharp rise in online job adverts is good news for those seeking employment, or a change in career. 

Latest data from employment website SEEK shows a record number of jobs advertised online over the last couple of months. Compared to March, April had a 12 percent lift in jobs advertised nationwide - up 355 percent compared to April 2020 and 19 percent above April 2019.  

SEEK NZ general manager Janet Faulding said the results show the market is now tipped in favour of jobseekers.

"With more jobs ads than ever on Seek.co.nz, New Zealand is truly in a jobseeker's market," Faulding said.

Uncertainty created by COVID-19 saw unemployment jump to 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter. By last quarter, unemployment had dropped back to 4.7 percent, but the number of underutilised people grew, with 7000 more women and 1000 more men able and willing to work more.

With job ad numbers now three-and-a-half times higher than April last year, now could be the right time to find a new job - or pick up extra work. 

And as a reflection of the lift in advertised jobs, SEEK data shows the number of applications per job dropped, indicating less competition.  

"In April we saw a decrease in application per job ad of 9 percent month-on-month," Faulding added.

Regional increase in jobs advertised online in April

At a nationwide level, the number of jobs advertised online was 12 percent higher than in March and 355 percent higher than the same time last year.

Besides Northland, the number of jobs advertised in April compared to March increased for every region. The biggest monthly increase was in the Marlborough region, up 47 percent.

In Auckland and Gisborne, job ads were up by 18 percent month-on-month, including Hawkes Bay, noting this region had proportionally fewer jobs advertised.

Job advertisement monthly percentage change by region: March 2021 - April 2021
Job advertisement monthly percentage change by region: March 2021 - April 2021 Photo credit: Supplied/SEEK.

Jump in employer demand within hospitality and tourism 

SEEK data shows a significant jump in demand for workers within the hospitality and tourism industry. This includes positions for chefs, cooks and kitchen hands, management, bar and waiting staff, housekeeping, front office and guest services.

"This year, we've seen the hospitality and tourism industry experience a resurgence...last month [April], the demand continued with a 42.7 percent increase month-on-month," Faulding said.

The second-highest demand was in manufacturing, transport and logistics, up 18.1 percent month-on-month, followed by information and communication technology, with job advertisements within the category up 14.6 percent.

Top five sectors showing a record number of jobs in April

Here are the top five sectors with a record number of jobs advertised online:

  1. Trades and Services.
  2. Information and Communication Technology. 
  3. Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics.
  4. Healthcare and Medical.
  5. Hospitality and Tourism.

As an alternative to SEEK, Trade Me Jobs allows jobseekers to search jobs by sector and location. 

A Trade Me report released on April 15 shows the number of jobs advertised from January to March was up 22 percent year-on-year. The biggest increases were within the automotive, construction and roading, and manufacturing and operations sectors.