Key Trends in the NZ Recruitment Market - December 2011
Typically at this time of year we see the last flurry of client recruitment activity prior to the summer Christmas break. This is predominantly being seen in the private sector as many public sector organisations are still under cost containment pressures resulting in more strategic stakeholder analysis over spending and workforce planning. We predict this trend will continue at current or even greater degrees throughout 2012, especially now that the National Party have another three year term in government.
The lead up to the election itself had limited impacts on recruitment activity levels but it will be interesting to see how John Key, his Cabinet and the new MMP partners will shape public policy. It appears that this will especially be seen around Social Welfare Reform and will be of interest to note which Crown Agencies will be predominantly driving this change and how this impacts their own human resource requirements. The creation of Youth Minimum Wage will also have direct impacts on both employers and employees.
Public sector austerity measures will continue to have significant impacts on both the candidate and client landscape over the next 12 to 24 months. Key trends include the continued drive for shared service efficiencies, such as a centralised multi-agency call centre, Crown procurement initiatives to reduce costs and the advent of more Outsourcing initiatives and Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s).
The recent All Black victory in Rugby World Cup 2011 has resulted in many hang-overs, empty pockets, amazing memories and dreams of victories in World Cups to come, but from a labour perspective there has been limited impact with the exception of those candidates who temporarily put their job searches on hold and are now back in the market.
Looking forward, the continued mismatch between client’s requirements and candidate availability with those specific skills will likely be the biggest challenge facing New Zealand business for 2012. Candidate quality, with certain pockets experiencing greater “pain-points” such as Auckland-based contact centre skills, has become a real issue and will only exacerbate further as the market heats up. “No people – no growth” to quote Brett Riley, CEO of NZICT.
During the recession we saw a significant increase in flexible working arrangements, such as part-time and temporary/contractor resources being utilised. Recently the pendulum has started to swing the other way with marked increases in permanent hiring, especially across the private sector in Auckland.
We have now started to see that salary levels have also become a key determinant in both recruitment and retention of those with business-critical skill sets (with more modest pressure applying to support roles). Employees are now looking to be paid salary levels that are a fair reflection of their current market worth.
Candidates who have been delaying their OE’s over the last few years are now looking at their off-shore options. The 25 to 33 year old age bracket and those with limited ties (family, mortgages etc) are most at risk of going off-shore and we usually expect spikes of movement predominantly in the April to June period, once the New Zealand summer has finished.
The recession marked the first time that Generation Y candidates saw a significant reduction in demand for their skill-sets since they entered the workforce, resulting in what sociologists have come to refer as the occasional “quarter-life” crisis! Graduates are also finding difficulty getting roles specific to their studies as companies have typically reduced their graduate in-takes over the last couple of years.
While New Zealand lags in social media consumption compared to countries such as Australia and the United States, we have noticed a greater awareness in 2011 particularly amongst small to medium sized businesses, resulting in new or increased spend on social media activities. Employment branding is of course affected by general branding activities. Through social media channels and general digital activities, candidates have a richer experience of a company’s culture and values compared to a traditional job advertisement on its own. The key however is providing value and engaging content on these channels rather than just unidirectional brand messages. In a candidate short market, employers who are able to engage with candidates prior to or following the interview process have a greater advantage in securing talent. The Madison Group are on our own journey of utilising social media channels to engage with our clients and candidates. Visit our website www.madisongroup.co.nz where you will find links to our various online activities.
Geographically we have seen marked differences in employment trends. Auckland arguably got hit hardest at the outset of the economic downturn, but in turn has seen the greatest recovery in employee confidence due primarily to private sector growth. In Wellington, where we saw the next biggest impact of the global financial crisis on employment, the market is still relatively stagnant from a permanent job perspective and a region we are predicting very modest growth for the next 12 months. Both Hamilton and Christchurch never really experienced aggressive cost reduction recessionary pressures and were buffered by more small to medium size business operating in and around the primary industry sector. They are both very solid branch performers for Madison and we predict this to continue into 2012.
The full impact of the Canterbury earthquakes is still to play out. Anecdotal trends indicate short term negative impacts on local businesses after such disasters but this is followed by a sustained period of significant growth as redevelopment initiatives, heavily funded by insurance companies and The Earthquake Commission, gather pace. We have also noticed that many private and public sector companies are assessing their disaster recovery protocols with multi-site and virtual call centres being top of mind.
Clients are still being relatively cautious as the global financial markets and sovereign debt issues in Europe are still to play out. Key concerns are the cost of money costs for off-shore financing and the very high ratio of debt to GDP. That said, New Zealand is relatively buffered by our primary trading partners being Australia and South East Asia and the continued global demand for our primary produce.
Justin Pipe joined the Madison Group in 2006 and is currently National Sales Director. He describes the Madison Group as a ‘group of committed, fun, values-based individuals who really want to make a difference and are proud to put their name against whatever they are doing’. What most people don't know is that Justin has an identical twin brother who is only 3 minutes older than him!
"I found them to be effective, professional and easy to deal with. They met their contracted responsibilities but more importantly, I found them to be open and transparent. In addition, the value of their contribution far exceeded the 'cost' of the service"
- Customer Services Manager
"They were interested in helping me succeed. They followed up throughout the process and ensured I felt and was supported in my bid to find employment. The best recruiter I worked with during a period I was dealing with multiple recruiters."
- 2009 SEEK SARA voter's comment
"I really enjoy working with all consultants at Madison they are always very helpful and explain all assignments very well and always check to make sure everything is going well with the job they have placed you into."
- currently working as a Madison Temp
...in the projects they’ve been involved in, Madison have provided more than pure recruitment services. They are committed to sharing in mutually positive outcomes and this is evidenced by their willingness to do what it takes to meet our needs."
- Project Manager, Government Department
"Thank you very much for your help and friendly service. The registration process was efficient. The consultant was supportive. The end results have been lovely especially working within the current opportunity...Thank you for caring!"
- currently working as a Madison Temp
"Any requests that I have made with Madison have been followed up and actioned, turned around in a very quick timeframe with my needs being met."
- Customer Manager, Advertising/Media
"Madison were very proactive when trying to find me a job. Every time I have used Madison's services they deliver, and usually within a matter of days. I was very happy with the level of service I received and I will be recommending their services..."
- Now working at GE Money
"Madison have proven themselves to be strategic business partners in the fullest sense, continually monitoring our present and future needs and evolving their business offerings to our benefit."
- Director of Organisational Performance, Local Government