Employers 'spoiled for choice' as job listings fall, applications per ad rise - SEEK data

The number of job listings is steadily declining with ads down 28 percent lower year-on-year and 5 percent month-on-month in November, according to the latest data.  

SEEK NZ's latest Employment Report also revealed applications per ad rose for a second month up 5 percent to the highest level on record. 

Job ad numbers fell in most industries month on month, with increases only in insurance and superannuation (22 percent), design and architecture (6 percent) and marginal rises in three others.  

The industries that led the decline in job ads in November were retail and consumer products (-12 percent), hospitality and tourism (-9 percent) and administration and office support (-8 percent).  

Over the past quarter, professional services roles have recorded the greatest decline (-12 percent) whereas the less volatile public sector, while still on the decline, has fallen to a much lesser degree (-4 percent). 

Applications per job ad rose in most industries as job ads fell in October, including in community services and development (28 percent) and retail and consumer products (12 percent). 

SEEK country manager Rob Clark said the decline in job ads is partly because hiring activity is winding down ahead of Christmas.  

"The cities continue to lead the hiring slowdown, with ad volumes falling to a greater degree in the metro areas compared to the smaller regions. 

"Retail and consumer products and hospitality and tourism were the lead contributors to the decline... While it is expected that hiring within these industries would slow down at the end of the year, retail and consumer products has been recording a downward trend in hiring for the past three months. 

"Candidate activity continues to ramp up... Hirers are being spoiled for choice with applicants at the moment and candidates will therefore have to work harder to stand out amongst the strong level of competition," he added.  

Region insights (H2) 

The largest regions recorded notable job ad decline in November, with Auckland (-6 percent), Wellington (-7 percent) and Waikato (-6 percent) leading the overall drop in ad volumes. The decline was not across the board, however, as Manawatu (2 percent), Southland (3 percent) and Gisborne (1 percent) recorded small increases in job ad volumes month-on-month. 

When compared to the same time last year, Gisborne is the only region where job ads have increased, up 9 percent from November 2022, although the growth has slowed in the past month, down from 30 percent year-on-year in October 2023.  

All other regions have declined after the "great job boom" of 2022. Applications per job ad rose in most regions, notably in Auckland (5 percent), Wellington (4 percent), Canterbury (5 percent) and Waikato (3 percent).