New Zealand Job Market Update

By Paula McCashin, New Zealand Careers Consultant, Hudson

Obviously one of the most significant factors to consider when migrating is whether you will you be able to find interesting and fulfilling work in your new home. In recent years, New Zealand had one lowest unemployment rates in the OECD (3.5% in Dec 2007) and many employers needed to look beyond the local candidate pools to global / migrant talent markets to meet ongoing talent shortages. However the nature of the NZ job market has changed dramatically in the last 12 months with the unemployment rate rising to 6.5% in September 2009, the highest level since September 2000. Expectations are for a further rise to around 7% in early 2010.

New Zealand did not escape the recent global economic crisis. The market slowed and many businesses were forced to down-size their operations and lay off staff. It has been a very challenging year for the NZ economy – and limited job opportunities have been one of the factors making it difficult for anyone considering migrating.

It is not all doom and gloom. Although New Zealand’s unemployment rate has risen, it still remains the 9th lowest of 30 OECD nations and well below the OECD average of 8.3%. Commentators have also argued that New Zealand has been less affected by global events and is in a relatively better position to recover than most other countries. This is due to factors such as having a strong labour market when the downturn began, tax rates and reductions in interest rates. Unexpected but very welcome second quarter growth seems to indicate that we are on the right track as New Zealand’s most severe recession in three decades draws to an end.

Also in spite of a softer labour market there are still some areas where specialist skill shortages persist. Examples include but are certainly not limited to: healthcare specialists: Nurses, Doctors, Midwifes etc, Infrastructure, .Net Software Developers, Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence specialists. (IT sector), Credit/Deal structuring and Risk specialists (Banking sector), Transport Planners, Stormwater Engineers, Transmission (electricity) Engineers to name a few.

As we head towards the end of what as been an extremely challenging year it is nice to finally see some confidence returning to the New Zealand economy. But before you run off start booking your tickets it is necessary to mention that any recovery is likely to be modest and gradual and it will be a while before we see this translate into a dramatic improvement in the job market.

Things will certainly slow down again in the approach to Christmas. December/January are notoriously quiet months for job hunting in New Zealand as most Kiwis tend to take their Summer holidays over this time. A great time to visit for a holiday but not the best time of year for a job hunting trip.

If you would like to obtain an employment appraisal for your employment sector in New Zealand or you would like to obtain a Comprehensive New Zealand Visa Evaluation please contact us.