The number of skilled vacancies advertised online in New Zealand rose 1.1 percent last month to its highest level in nearly six years as the Canterbury rebuild increased demand for skilled construction workers and engineers, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The skilled vacancies index increased to a seasonally adjusted 121.5, the highest level it’s been since April 2008, the ministry’s Jobs Online report shows. On an annual basis, skilled vacancies climbed 7.4 percent in the year to December, with eight out of 10 regions across the country posting an increase in the year.
New Zealand’s business confidence is at historically high levels as a reluctance by firms to push up prices puts pressure on expected profitability, according to a survey by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. Respondents to the survey said they expected to hire more staff in the coming quarter, but NZIER found much of the labour market was concentrated in a few regions and industries.
Canterbury-based skilled vacancies rose 0.3 percent in the month and 8.3 percent on an annual basis. The region has the highest measure of skilled vacancies fuelled in part for demand of construction and engineering workers as the rebuild of New Zealand’s second largest city picks up after being devastated by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.
Over the year, Canterbury-based vacancies for construction and engineering rose 16.8 percent in the year, and since the September 2010 earthquake, has soared 375 percent. Skilled vacancies for sales, marketing and advertising led the Canterbury gain, up 20.3 percent, as the region looks for workers to replace those who left the city after the earthquakes.
Outside of the Canterbury region, skilled vacancies in Auckland, the country’s most populous city, edged up 0.8 percent in the December, for a yearly gain of 20.3 percent. Bay of Plenty increased 2.3 percent in December, while the region posted the biggest annual gain, up 20.6 percent. Wellington posted an annual decline of 4.3 percent, with no comparable monthly figures.
Skilled vacancies rose in most industry groups with education and training reporting the biggest increase at 2.6 percent in the month, for an annual gain of 12.4 percent.
The need for skilled workers increased across all occupation groups, which is divided between technician and trade workers, professionals and managers. Technicians and trades worker vacancies were up 2.4 percent in December for an annual gain of 3.5 percent. Professionals increased 0.9 percent in the month for a 6.4 percent increase in the year, while vacancies for managers increased 0.9 percent in December, rising 8 percent in the year.