The data

Stats NZ has released March quarter data showing an increase in the unemployment rate to 4.3 percent, up from 4 percent in December 2023. This figure excludes the majority of public service cuts announced this year. The unemployment rate is a common indicator of the labour market’s health, which can impact an employer’s hiring process. It can also help inform people related decisions like budget allocation, recruitment strategy and remuneration.

Net migration also remains at near record levels, with over 50 percent of New Zealand citizen migrant departures going to Australia (the unemployment rate in New Zealand is higher than Australia for the first time in over a decade).

According to online employment marketplace SEEK, the number of job ads month-on-month dropped 4 percent in April 2024. MBIE data also shows that online job ads were down 22.3 percent in the year to April.

Other factors to consider include an increase in company liquidations – Centrix data indicates a nine-year high in its April update – plus economic uncertainty and its impact on business decisions regarding hiring.

For employers:

For businesses looking to hire, the idea of more candidates per role vacancy may seem appealing, but what we know is that an increase in job seekers has minimal positive effect on a hiring process. And that’s because, finding top talent and knowing if they are the right fit is challenging, regardless of the number of applicants you have for a role vacancy.

In reality, the more applicants you have, the more time is required. Remember, not every qualified candidate will thrive in a given role or business environment. The ‘art’ of good recruitment is uncovering (and securing) the right people for the right roles – unfortunately, the health (or otherwise) of the labour market has a very minimal direct influence on the outcome.

For job seekers:

If you are new to the job market, chances are your current experience will be completely different to anything you’ve seen prior. Expect more competition for fewer roles, lengthened hiring processes, plus less attractive salary and benefit packages.

With employed workers reluctant to even consider new opportunities due to these conditions, there could be longer term impacts with career pathways and progression put on hold. Definitely something to reflect on, if you are solely focused on job security in the short term.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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