New Zealand's hiring activity 'winds down' to Christmas

Published 19 December 2023 | 2 min read

How is New Zealand's hiring activity slowing down?

As we approach the festive season, the hiring landscape in Aotearoa is experiencing a noticeable slowdown, echoing the sentiments of the year's end. According to the SEEK Employment Report for November 2023, job ads dipped by 5%, marking the third consecutive month of decline. Auckland, Wellington, and Waikato spearheaded this downturn, with job ads slipping by 6%, 7%, and 6%, respectively.

National SEEK job ad percentage change by region (Nov 2023 vs Oct 2023)

The decline in hiring activity extends beyond geographic boundaries, with Taranaki (-14%) and Marlborough (-10%) witnessing double-digit declines. Industries such as Retail & Consumer Products, Hospitality & Tourism, and Administration & Office Support bore the brunt, recording drops of 12%, 9%, and 8%, respectively. The traditional year-end slowdown is undeniably evident, posing challenges for businesses seeking to bolster their teams before the holiday break.

Surge in applicants

However, amidst this, recruiters find themselves "spoiled for choice," as applications per posting surged by 5% in October. This paradoxical rise in candidate activity, as reported by SEEK NZ, indicates that the talent pool is becoming increasingly dynamic. As we delve into the details, we discover that not all regions and industries are experiencing a hiring standstill. Southland (3%), Manawatu (2%), and Gisborne (1%) have seen an uptick in job ads, providing pockets of opportunity.

The decline in job ads is not a failure but a natural flow in the employment tide, acknowledging the cyclical nature of the job market, especially as the year draws to a close. Sectors like Retail & Consumer Products, anticipating a slowdown during this season, are witnessing a more prolonged downtrend. However, this can be seen as an opportunity to strategize and reevaluate hiring practices for the upcoming year.

Strategies heading into the new year

While some regions and industries experience a decline, others are still witnessing growth. Understanding these nuances is crucial for businesses navigating the current job market. For those in Retail & Consumer Products or Hospitality & Tourism, consider innovative strategies to stand out in a competitive landscape. For regions experiencing a decline, this might be an opportune moment to focus on retention strategies or explore untapped talent pools.

Moreover, with applications per job ad reaching record highs, employers have the luxury of choice. This presents a unique opportunity for businesses to refine their recruitment processes, ensuring they attract the right candidates who align with their values and goals. In the words of Rob Clark, Country Manager at SEEK NZ, "candidates will have to work harder to stand out amongst the strong level of competition." Employers, too, must rise to the occasion, ensuring their recruitment strategies are finely tuned to attract and retain the best talent.

In conclusion, while New Zealand's hiring activity winds down into the Christmas season, it's crucial for businesses to view this period not as a lull but as a chance to regroup and prepare for the opportunities the new year will undoubtedly bring. As we bid farewell to 2023, let's embrace the prospect of a fresh start in the employment landscape, knowing that resilience and adaptability will be the keys to success in the dynamic world of recruitment.

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