Employment market – “Salary Plus” was candidate focus in ’16

Press Release – Madison Recruitment

Strong demand for specialised skills during 2016 saw sought-after candidates looking for more than just higher pay, the Madison 2017 Employment Market Report shows.Media Release

18 May 2017

NZ employment market – “Salary Plus” was candidate focus in 2016

Strong demand for specialised skills during 2016 saw sought-after candidates looking for more than just higher pay, the Madison 2017 Employment Market Report shows.

In some areas, such as banking, recruitment was ‘business as usual’ and salaries increased only slightly. Other areas saw dramatic rises – Madison last year handled one candidate earning $65,000 in the warehousing and logistics sector, who was offered $80,000 for a more senior role with another organisation, before a previous employer secured his services for $100,000.

“There’s certainly some push-back emerging on advertised salaries from candidates with high-demand skills. But they’re increasingly also looking at what else an employer can offer, such as flexible work hours, remote working, flat management structures, and attractive office environments,” said Madison Chief Operating Officer Steve Jackson.

“Tension is also emerging between employers and candidates over expected tenure. Many candidates expect rapid career development, and employers may need to rethink how long they expect a role to last.”

“Businesses are starting to grapple with these issues, focusing more on engagement, retention and employee development,” Jackson said.

The report draws attention to the Waikato region, where signs are emerging of a significant expansion in economic activity and employment. The area enjoys good levels of housing affordability and improving transport links, underwritten by agri-technology, logistics, and manufacturing opportunities.

Nationally, digital transformation and the construction boom have changed the way organisations are working. Unemployment is low, workforce participation is at an all-time high, and labour demand is strong across almost all sectors.

But while permanent headcounts have held up, work is increasingly project-driven, resulting in high demand for independent contractors and those with project management capability.

This was particularly so in the Information Technology and Property & Construction sectors.

IT is coming to the fore within organisations as a key business driver, rather than a service division. The report notes the shift from the narrower CIO (Chief Information Officer) designation to CDOs (Chief Digital Officers) as the technology leaders within a business.

Well-publicised skills shortages in construction have prompted sourcing of workers from overseas as a stop-gap measure to meet demand while a larger New Zealand work force is trained.

Contact centres also gained prominence within businesses as firms recognised the importance of customer service as a competitive differentiator amid growing service quality expectations.

In Human Resources, demand increased for learning and development skills to help with workforce retention and development. In Business Support, office administration is winning recognition as a key organisational role, and some push-back is evident against advertised salaries.

In Sales & Marketing, demand is moving away from traditional, “tried and true” skills towards faster-paced and more ambiguous digital marketing. The shift is accompanied by length of tenure and retention issues for employers.

The survey notes a shortage of quality candidates for accounting roles, resulting in increased training. It is possible employers will begin looking to fill positions with staff sourced overseas.

Jackson said most of the themes emerging in individual sectors were reflected in contractor recruitment, one of Madison’s core services.

“In 2016 we saw a significant expansion in demand for contingent workers. Senior programme and project roles require very high calibre recruitment as contractors need to be able to hit the ground running.

“Although short- or fixed-term, contractors bring in skills that can add permanent value to an organisation. But they certainly understand their own value, and we experienced plenty of spirited negotiation for higher rates.”

Jackson expected many of these themes to remain prominent over 2017 and in the foreseeable future.

“In property and infrastructure, it’s inevitable that activity will eventually reach a peak and start to tail off. But in digital transformation there’s no ‘normal.’ In New Zealand there’s an element of catch-up, but digital innovation and disruption are here to stay.”


About Madison

Madison was established in 1998 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of AWF Madison Group, New Zealand’s largest recruitment company and the only one in the sector listed on the NZX.

We have over 100 staff across the country delivering our services across five locations in Auckland Central, Auckland South East, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. There is no other New Zealand owned recruitment agency that handles the volume, scale and range of work that Madison does.

Each week there are on average over 1000 temporary workers and contractors on client sites around the country and in the last year we filled over 5600 roles. This gives us access to the real-time market information, salaries and trends that have allowed us to compile this employment market report.

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