52% of employers will expand headcount – are you one of them?


New Zealand has powered out of last year’s downturn in a stronger position than anyone could have anticipated back in mid-2020. 

Today, employment growth is positive. In fact, over three-quarters (76%) of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 point. 

New jobs are being added daily, too. According to our newly released Hays Salary Guide FY21/22, 52% of employers intend to increase their permanent headcount over the next 12 months. 16% will increase their use of temporaries or contractors. 

Clearly, New Zealand has turned a corner and employers are feeling increasingly optimistic. Fiscal stimulus and control of the spread of COVID-19 has helped to create a jobs market recovery and expansion, with employers reinvesting in headcount growth.

Supply and demand tips in favour of candidates

With employers intending to expand their workforce, in some areas the demand for skills now exceeds supply. In fact, we’re now in the midst of a jobseekers’ market. 

Add border closures, which severely limit the supply of skilled professionals into the country, and the supply and demand imbalance has tipped in favour of candidates. As a result, vacancies remain open for longer as employers compete for top talent. 

Furthermore, in the next 12 months 70% of employers say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation or department, either in a significant or minor way. 

How to attract top talent in a competitive market

In a competitive market, it can be a challenge to attract the skills and people you need. Following are a few ideas to help you get started. For more, please reach out to your local recruiter to discuss, in confidence, candidate attraction strategies for your specific industry. 

1. Make workforce planning a strategic priority

Planning ahead can help avoid widening skills gaps in the future. Take the time to fully understand your skills requirements, conduct a skills gap analysis and put in place the most effective short and long-term strategies.

2. Invest in your employer brand

When was the last time you reviewed your employer branding? Building a strong employer brand allows you to effectively compete for candidates in a skills-short market. 

An employer brand clearly communicates to prospective employees why they should work for your organisation. It should also include any flexible working, training and career progression opportunities you have available, as these are important considerations for professionals today.

3. Make use of temporary workers to alleviate the pressure

Temporary or contract workers need not only be used when a certain skillset is required on a project or to meet peaks in demand. 

You can consider using their skills to remove some pressure on existing staff until a new permanent team member can be sourced. This helps to ensure targets are met and growth plans realised, while improving the job satisfaction of your existing permanent employees.

4. Upskill existing staff

Whether investing in existing staff to give them additional skills or completely retraining people from other departments, upskilling your own employees is a good way to overcome skills shortages. 

5. Review your salary and benefits package

It goes without saying that you should ensure you are offering candidates a competitive salary and benefits package if you want to attract the best staff. 

Download the Hays Salary Guide

Our annual Hays Salary Guide FY21/22 is based on a survey of close to 600 organisations and more than 500 skilled professionals in New Zealand. Download your copy to access typical salaries, benefits and insights relevant to your organisation.

About this author

Adam Shapley, Managing Director, Hays New Zealand and Hays IT Australia & New Zealand, began working at Hays in 2001 and during this time has held significant leadership roles across the business including responsibility for multiple specialisms in various locations across Australia & New Zealand.

In 2018, he was appointed to Hays ANZ Management Board and made Managing Director for Hays New Zealand.

Adam is also responsible for the strategic direction of the Hays Information Technology business across Australia & New Zealand including driving growth across Digital Technology, Projects & Business Change and IT Operations & Support.

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