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2019 predictions

2018 is about to come to a close, and beyond the well-earned holidays that many of us will enjoy over the festive season, we’re also thinking about the year ahead.

Predictions for New Zealand’s longer term economic forecast vary, with some experts believing we’ll be seriously impacted by a global recession, while others are more optimistic. Regardless, there’s no denying that our low unemployment levels are going to have an impact on the 2019 labour market.

So what does this mean for businesses looking to add to their workforce? What industries will continue to enjoy employment growth? What roles will be in high demand? What will candidates be looking for? Are there any changes we need to make to our sourcing and recruitment approach? 

These are just some of the questions we’ve been pondering at Madison HQ so that we can prepare for a successful year ahead. Given we’re in full planning mode, we thought it would be an opportune time to share with you some employment market insights, courtesy of our talented employees.

In this blog, we’re turning to our specialist recruiters nationwide, who collectively make up Madison’s Professional Services Team. Read on as they share their recruitment market predictions for key sectors across New Zealand.


Ailish Dunphy | Consultant | Accounting & Finance, Auckland

I’m looking forward to a busy year of recruitment in the accounting, finance and insurance space in 2019. Having observed lots of industry discussion about adherence with legislation and regulations; my predictions are that Compliance and Risk Officers will be in high demand. Another hot role for the new year; Assistant Accountants. With an increase in outsourcing, many organisations are bypassing the typical hierarchy, and instead are hiring employees in this essential supporting role to oversee smaller departments.

However, the supply of skilled and experienced candidates at this level is already limited so I’ll be focused on building my pipeline when we return from the holiday break. I also expect to see an increase in temporary employees and contractors at the beginning of the new year. It’s a time when many businesses complete software and systems updates and other smaller projects, so if you are looking for a quality temp or contractor resource, don’t leave it too late as the best talent gets booked up fast. Read more about Ailish.


Jayne GlenisterSenior Consultant | Property, Construction, Procurement, Supply Chain, Auckland

The demand for talent continues unabated in Auckland’s construction space, due to the increase in large scale construction projects across the city. Higher salaries are expected, in particular across the private sector. As a result, I predict that public sector organisations will look to offer more attractive salary packages to meet the market, and attract high calibre construction professionals.

Also with increased volumes of applicants across the industry, I see video interviewing becoming more widely used. This is great for candidates, as they can interview from their home, anywhere in the world (job seekers take note: this will become an essential skill!). Hiring Managers will then reserve face-to-face interview time for the top candidates only. Read more about Jayne.


Aldrin David | Consultant | Sales, Marketing, HR, South East Auckland

My 2019 prediction for what will be the most important benefit for sales and marketing candidates, in the South East Auckland market where I recruit is going to be…(drumroll please) an attractive, competitive salary. Perhaps that’s not very controversial— or maybe it is, because I know there’s a lot of talk about culture and work-life balance in the market. I certainly believe other factors matter.

However, with the housing market standing as it is, the rising price of petrol, the cost of groceries, it’s hard for everyday Kiwis to maintain a comfortable living, or to sustain the dream of home ownership. I don’t believe that salaries for many sales and marketing roles in Auckland (of course, there are outliers) have risen as much as the cost of living. Therefore, when talented candidates are looking to move jobs, that’s their Number 1 consideration. Having said that, flexible work arrangements and career progression opportunities follow close behind! Read more about Aldrin


Wendy Clarke | Consultant | Sales, Marketing, Construction & Property, ChristchurchWendy Clarke

My prediction for 2019 is that there will be an increase in the employers who are seeking proven problem solvers, whatever the position. Increasingly, everyday tasks are managed by systems, processes or even technology. It’s the ability to look at a problem, and come up with a practical, meaningful solution that can help a team and business to flourish—or to flounder.

My personal approach for the year ahead will be to talk to my clients about the benefits of exclusivity in the recruitment relationship. I know this sounds a bit presumptuous! However I truly believe the recruitment process can become counter-productive when multiple recruiters attempt to recruit for the same position. Candidates get confusing messages, clients are unable to truly compare who is being presented to them. The net result: it all takes longer, and costs everyone more –  including our clients who haven’t had the benefit of one single shortlist to work with. I’m keen to chat to anyone who’d like to, about the pros and cons of the exclusive approach. Read more about Wendy


Ian Green | Principal Consultant | Procurement, Property, Finance, Wellington

With organisations looking to improve their business efficiencies, keeping costs to a minimum while maintaining quality services, the procurement specialist role will become more and more important to business success. Here in Wellington in the forthcoming year, I expect to see a continued high demand for senior procurement specialists who are able to work within a business to improve efficiency outcomes, while managing stakeholders effectively.

Stakeholder and supplier management ability will be a key area that clients will focus on when hiring, and that I will be searching for while pipelining talented candidates. I also predict that Property Project Managers will continue to be in demand moving forward, given that the construction and infrastructure sectors will be busy. At the lower end of the market, Project Coordinators in both the procurement and property sectors will continue to be in demand. These roles are critical to the smooth running of medium to large projects, and unfortunately talent is in short supply. Read more about Ian.


Gavin Woodfield | Consultant | Project Management, Sales, Wellington

Thinking about the areas where there will be growth in the Wellington market in 2019, all indications suggest that Project Management is due for expansion. I’m expecting to see an increase in the required numbers of front line project management workers, due to Government policy changes.

Essentially, with policy changes comes a need for more headcount to undertake analysis, as well as to implement the systems that provide support to operational staff. On the sales side, things are hotting up. We’ve seen real changes in how products are sold. Multi-channel interactions with customers are evolving, and to succeed and win those customers, organisations need in house expertise to really understand customers’ sales decision process. With this will come a strong demand for Customer Experience Managers/BDMs. Watch this space, it should be interesting. Read more about Gavin.


Koren Wilkinson | Consultant | HR, Policy, Wellington

‘Big Data’ has been hot topic this year, and next year will be no different. With that in mind, HRIS analysts will be a high demand role in the Wellington market for 2019. Data is crucial in the decision-making process and this pertains to staffing as well. HR teams are seeking people with strong analytical skills to help interpret information generated by their business. The not-so-good news: experienced candidates are not in plentiful supply.

This is a good segue into my other focus for the new year: strategic sourcing. I’ll be looking to source talent through many more diverse channels beyond the traditional job boards, databases etc. Candidate shortages means we need to get really creative in our tactics! While you are busy sourcing, make sure you communicate your flexible working arrangements, if you have them. HR candidates at all levels are particularly aware of the possibilities, and it will be a big plus for your candidate attraction strategy. Read more about Koren.


If you’d like to hear more about what to expect when recruiting in specific sectors and locations in 2019, don’t hesitate to contact your local specialist; their contact details are available through the link to their profiles. Alternatively you can simply call your local Madison office.