Still great time to be job seeker despite applications booming for first time in years - Trade Me

The pandemic has finally lost its grip on the New Zealand employment market, with demand for roles up for the first time in two years.

But an expert has reassured it's still a "great time to be a job seeker".

Trade Me Jobs' quarterly report for July to September (Q3) analysed more than 79,000 job advertisements on the website and found a 9 percent year-on-year increase in applications while job listings remained at a high level.

Matt Tolich, Trade Me Jobs' sales director, said the latest data showed more New Zealanders are finding the confidence to apply for jobs now all pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

"In Q3 we saw more Kiwis taking advantage of the current market conditions and checking out their options, with a nationwide 9 percent year-on-year jump in the average number of applications per listing."

The last time roles had a year-on-year increase in demand for rules was in the third quarter of 2020 at 11 percent. The regions that saw the biggest spikes were Gisborne (28 percent), Auckland (21 percent) and Wellington (16 percent) in comparison to 2021.

There was an increase in job applications last quarter in every region except Canterbury, Marlborough, Taranaki and Otago.

Demand for the vast majority of industries was up with the largest category, trades and services, seeing a 14 percent increase in average applications than the previous year.

The construction and roading sector saw demand spike at 32 percent and fishing and forestry at 35 percent.

Tolich said news of increased interest in roles would be welcome news for employers. 

"It has been a tough couple of years for Kiwi businesses trying to compete and win talent, so no doubt they'll be stoked to hear there are finally more job seekers in the market."

Demand for employees

The demand for employees still remains above pre-COVID levels, with the national number of jobs listed on the website showing no change in comparison with the previous year.

However, when compared with pre-COVID numbers in the third quarter of 2019, there was a 17 percent increase in job listings.

"What we're seeing here is the market levelling off after cycles of lockdowns followed by

sugar rushes of pent-up demand over the past two years," Tolich said.

The hospitality and tourism sectors continue to hunt for staff, with the sector seeing a 46 percent year-on-year increase in listings as the country approaches the busy summer period.

In the Auckland region alone hospitality and tourism roles jumped a huge 75 percent when compared with last year.

Nationwide, retail (15 percent) and customer service (10 percent) listings also saw a big jump on the same period in 2021.

"Aotearoa has well and truly opened back up and these sectors really make up the backbone of our summer economy, so it's no surprise they were the three to see a year-on-year increase," Tolich said.

Looking at the regions, Otago saw more listings than ever before. Northland, Taranaki and West Coast also saw a yearly increase in listings last quarter, while every other region saw a drop.

Tolich expects New Zealand will continue to see applications climb as Kiwis make the most of the abundance of listings.

"It's still a great time to be a job seeker," he said.

Looking to the future, employers are likely to see some relief.

"With more people in the market for a new job, paired with a significant number of migrants entering the country, businesses are now feeling some relief and we expect this to get even better over summer."