Labour market 'extremely tight' despite job ads increasing for first time in five months

  • 23/02/2024

New Zealand has started the year off with a rise in job advertisements for the first time in five months.

Seek NZ's latest employment report found job advertisements in January were up one percent month-on-month.

It's only the third time job ads have increased in 12 months, however, job ad volumes are still down 24 percent year-on-year.

Seek NZ country manager Rob Clark said the rise in job ads was led by a 10 percent boost in retail and consumer jobs, the greatest jump that industry has seen in more than two years.  

In fact, roles within the broader consumer services sector grew to the greatest degree, with real estate and customer service roles also increasing month-on-month.

Meanwhile, job ads for information & communication technology roles continued to decline, dropping five percent month-on-month.

One region to really see a jump in job ad volumes in January was Manawatū-Whanganui which rose 20 percent month-on-month. This was largely driven by rises in large hiring industries including trades and services, and manufacturing, transport and logistics.

Canterbury (down five percent), Northland (down seven percent) and Marlborough (down 12 percent) were the only regions to record a monthly decline in job ads.

National SEEK job ad percentage change by region (January 2024 vs December 2023).
National SEEK job ad percentage change by region (January 2024 vs December 2023). Photo credit: Seek NZ

However, the rise in job ads isn't keeping up with demand. The number of applications per job ad rose another six percent from November to December last year when they were already at the highest recorded levels in Seek history.

It's making competition for roles extremely tight.

"With the population surging over the past year and more people in the country available for work, competition among candidates has become extremely tight, as demonstrated by peaking applications per job ad levels each month," Clark said.

Jobs in Southland attracted the greatest increase in interest from candidates over the past six months, with applications per job ad levels now 35 percent higher than they were in June. Wellington (up 32 percent) and Auckland (up 30 percent) have recorded the next greatest increases.

While Gisborne (down one percent), Marlborough (down 11 percent) and West Coast (down 27 per cent) were the only regions to record a decline during the six months.