High demand for workers as Hawke's Bay labour market returns 'with vengeance' following Cyclone Gabrielle - SEEK

Demand for workers has increased in New Zealand with a large need for talent in Hawke's Bay following Cyclone Gabrielle.

The latest SEEK NZ Employment Report found job ads rose 1 percent month-on-month in March and were 19 percent higher compared to February 2019. 

It also found applications per job ad rose 4 percent in February. They have now risen 61 percent since June last year which the report said indicates a true uplift in candidate activity despite more opportunities available to dilute the market.

Job applications in March increased in most regions when compared with February. 

"The largest regions all recorded increased demand for workers, and following Cyclone Gabrielle, Hawke's Bay returned with a vengeance, with job ads rising above January levels," SEEK country manager Rob Clark said in a statement.

Hawkes Bay recorded the highest increase of 23 percent, which is likely a result of low activity in the region's job market in February due to Cyclone Gabrielle. It was followed by Auckland which recorded a 3 percent increase.

The regions to record a month-on-month decrease were Bay of Plenty (down 4 percent), Otago (down 3 percent), Tasman (down 1 percent), Gisborne (down 2 percent) and West Coast (down 4 percent). All regions remain elevated compared to March 2019 volumes.

National and regional job ad growth/decline comparing March 2023 to: i) February 2023 (m/m) and ii) March 2022 (y/y)
National and regional job ad growth/decline comparing March 2023 to: i) February 2023 (m/m) and ii) March 2022 (y/y) Photo credit: SEEK NZ

The report said applications per job ad picked up in the larger regions, rising 8 percent in Wellington, 7 percent in Otago and 6 percent in Auckland.

SEEK said the sales industry drove the overall rise in job ads in March with an 8 percent increase, followed by Retail and Consumer Products (up 4 percent) and Education and Training (up 8 percent).

"More industries than not recorded increased applications per ad, particularly for roles in Trades and Services and ICT. On the whole, applications per job ad are rising faster than job ads and levels are 42 percent higher than where they were pre-pandemic," Clark said.

Applications per job ad picked up significantly for roles in Trades and Services (up 13 percent), Information and Communication Technology (up 11 percent) and Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics (up 8 percent). 

"We are continuing to see small increases in job ad levels, with a 1 percent rise last month. Demand for workers in Sales, Retail and Consumer Products and Education and Training was particularly high in March," Clark said.

"There are plenty of jobs available and workers are increasingly acting on those opportunities."