Job Applications Boom As Market Shakes Off Covid

The pandemic has wiped out New Zealand’s job market for good, with demand for jobs picking up for the first time in two years. This is based on analysis of over 79,000 job vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ended September 30 (Q3).

Matt Tolich, Trade Me Jobs sales director, said the latest data showed more New Zealanders are finding confidence to apply for jobs after all pandemic restrictions are lifted.

“In the third quarter, we saw more Kiwis taking advantage of current market conditions and evaluating their options, with a nationwide 9 percent year-over-year increase in the average number of applications per listing.”

Ahead of the third quarter, Mr Tolich said the last time demand for jobs increased year-on-year was in the third quarter of 2020, when average applications per job opening rose 11 percent.

Looking at the country, Mr Tolich said the regions of Gisborne (up 28%), Auckland (up 21%) and Wellington (up 16%) saw the biggest spikes in average applications in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2021 per listing noted “This was reflected across the country, with more job applicants in all regions except Canterbury, Marlborough, Taranaki and Otago in the last quarter.”

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Mr Tolich said it was a similar story across sectors, with demand increasing in the vast majority of industries. “Our largest category, Retail & Services, saw a 14 percent increase in the average number of applications per listing in the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year.”

Mr Tolich said news of increased interest in roles was welcome news for employers. “It’s been a rough couple of years for Kiwi companies trying to stay competitive and attract talent, so no doubt they’ll be thrilled to hear that there are finally more job seekers in the market.”

List numbers are still above pre-Covid levels

Last quarter, Mr Tolich said the national number of sites listed had not changed compared to the same period in 2021. “However, compared to the third quarter of 2019, we have seen a 17 percent increase in the number of on-site listings.

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“What we’re seeing here is the market flattening out after cycles of lockdowns followed by sugar surges of pent-up demand over the past two years.”

As the warmer months began, Mr Tolich said hospitality and tourism jobs rose 46 percent year-on-year in the third quarter as Kiwi companies looked to strengthen their teams for the busy season ahead. “In the Auckland region alone, hospitality and tourism roles increased by a whopping 75 percent year-on-year.”

Nationwide, Mr Tolich said, listings in retail (up 15%) and customer service (up 10%) also saw a big jump over the same period in 2021. “Aotearoa has really reopened and these sectors are really the backbone of our summer economy, so it’s no surprise that they were the three to post year-on-year gains.”

Breaking down the data by region, Mr Tolich said Otago saw more entries than ever before in the third quarter. “Northland, Taranaki and West Coast also saw a year-over-year increase in listings in the most recent quarter, while all other regions saw a decrease.”

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The market expects further changes in the coming months

In the final three months of the year, Mr Tolich said some big changes could still be ahead. “With a plethora of offers, it’s still a great time to be looking for a job and we expect applications will continue to rise if Kiwi makes the most of it.”

Mr Tolich said employers would probably feel the biggest change going forward. “With more people in the market for a new job, coupled with a significant number of migrants coming into the country, companies are now feeling some relief and we expect this to get even better over the summer.”

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