The rebuild of Canterbury is stimulating New Zealand’s national labour market, which is showing improved hiring intentions for the July to September quarter, according to the latest Hudson Report Employment Expectations Survey. A net 22.0% of employers are planning to increase their permanent staffing levels during the next quarter, up 2.0 percentage points (pp) from the previous quarter.
“The overall trend line of employer sentiment is steadily tracking up since its lowest point in April to June 2009,” said Marc Burrage, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.
“This is a particularly interesting time for our economy and our labour market.
“There are so many influencing factors – the rebuild in Canterbury, as well as the uncertainty cast by ongoing geological activity, the impending Rugby World Cup and national general election, the record high New Zealand dollar and improving business confidence,” Burrage added.
Nationally, more than one third of industries reported above average sentiment. About half of the industries reported increases in sentiment compared to the previous quarter, including construction/building/engineering, information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing and utilities. Employers in the financial services/insurance, professional services and wholesale/distribution industries are anticipating stable headcounts for the upcoming quarter.
As Christchurch rebuilds, hiring intentions in the South Island are strong. A net 42.8% of employers are planning to increase their levels of permanent resource, up 20.4pp compared to before the first earthquake.
The building and construction industry is at record high levels of sentiment in this region, with a net 83.3% of employers planning on hiring more permanent staff during the upcoming quarter. Additionally, supporting industries like manufacturing, information technology and utilities are also strong – not only in Canterbury, but also nationwide, as many resources are diverted south.
Overall permanent hiring intentions are up in the upper North Island (2.3pp to 23.2%) regions, but down in the lower North (5.1pp to 12.8%). This latter decline is largely driven by the decreasing hiring intentions among government employers, and the flow-on effects this has on related businesses supporting the public sector.
The education, government healthcare, and retail industries also report decreasing hiring intentions for the July to September quarter, while employers in the professional services and wholesale/distribution industries report no change compared to the previous quarter.
In the contracting/temporary space, six out of ten employers are planning to hold their staffing levels steady, and a net 12.4% are planning to increase their teams. This is slightly down compared to last year, driven by big decreases in the wholesale/distribution and financial services/insurance industry. Many companies involved in rebuilding Canterbury are choosing to employ permanent staff in roles they would have formerly used contractors for, purely because of the long term nature of the work.
“What is clear from talking to our clients throughout New Zealand is that the majority of businesses are becoming adept, flexible and resilient in spite of changing, and often challenging, conditions,” said Burrage.“Despite recent economic hardship and natural disaster, there is still fire in the belly and a desire to keep growing business.”