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The most in-demand skills for 2021

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What skills will be in greatest demand in 2021? The world of work and the skills required are constantly changing – this year more than most. So, whether you’re looking to get hired or add to your team, it pays to keep informed and understand the most in-demand skills for the year ahead.
 
With many organisations returning to growth and looking to protect their future, it’s no surprise that many of 2021’s most in-demand jobs are those deemed critical to project delivery or business operations. Also ranking highly are jobs that allow organisations and people to perform at their peak. 
 
In terms of the balance of temporary and permanent roles, while contract remained resilient throughout 2020, we expect permanent vacancy activity to bounce back as business confidence increases.
 
If you are job searching, make sure you know how to stand out this year. 
 

Skills in demand

Based on our recent conversations with employers about their recruitment plans, the following skills will be in highest demand in 2021.
 
I work in… 
Read the full list below or tap through to the specialism most relevant to you:   
 

Accountancy & Finance


Within New Zealand’s accountancy and finance jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Group Financial Accountants at the $90,000 to $110,000 level with experience in group reporting, IFRS16 knowledge and the ability to consolidate monthly accounts for multiple business entities. This results from an increase in business acquisitions in 2020;
  • Payrollers at the $60,000 to $75,000 level with New Zealand payroll experience. Traditional candidate shortages were exacerbated in 2020 as overseas candidates returned home; 
  • CA Accountants with farming and agriculture industry experience at the $65,000 to $85,000 level. The shortage in the South Island for qualified and experienced Accountants in these industries remains.  

Architecture

 

Within New Zealand’s architecture jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Revit Technicians with previous experience as firms switch to this BIM software;
  • Project Architects to work in the active construction market.

Construction

 
Within New Zealand’s construction jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Project Managers at the $100,000-$140,000 level with commercial acumen and a background specialising in commercial vertical projects in excess of $20m;
  • Quantity Surveyors at the intermediate and senior levels with residential and commercial experience. Both non-client and client-facing experience is in high demand;
  • Site Managers at the $105,000-$130,000+ level for commercial projects with both structural and interior fitout expertise, technical skills, a strong carpentry background and the ability to run an efficient programme;
  • Project Engineers for civil projects with asphalt and chipseal experience for large roading projects and ongoing maintenance contracts;
  • Forepeople and Supervisors for civil projects who are willing to be hands-on when required and possess proven experience delivering various drainage projects;
  • Contract Managers across civil construction with a strong understanding of NZ3910 conditions of contract.

Engineering

 
Within New Zealand’s engineering jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Civil Engineers at the intermediate and senior levels with strong design skills in land development and proficiency using either Civil 3D or 12D;
  • Geotechnical Engineers who are chartered, or close to chartership, with experience across the whole project lifecycle from design to construction and good report writing skills;
  • Licenced Cadastral Surveyors with experience working on land development and subdivision projects who are comfortable using varied surveying software.

Facilities Management

Within New Zealand’s FM jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Technical Facilities Managers at the $100,000-$120,000 level who are hands-on, possess technical expertise and have a strong mechanical, electrical, trades or engineering background.

Information Technology

 
Within New Zealand’s IT jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Software Engineers at the $90,000-$120,000 level with well-rounded skills across cloud, automation and application security who can support the workforce to become multi-skilled and who can work across the board on projects ranging from web build to application integration;
  • Project Managers at the $100,000-$130,000 level with good solid experience in ERPs, cloud migration and who can take on scrum master duties; 
  • Business Analysts at the $100,000-$125,000 level with a good focus on technological business change and both soft and technical skills to work across a range of projects while managing change related to people, process and technology;
  • UI/UX Designers and Product Owners at the $100,000-$140,000 level for technical product-based organisations, with strong customer experience and the ability to work across technical software products. Today, customer experience and consideration of UX is essential when an application is being modified, as opposed to only when building or developing a new software product.

Legal

 
Within New Zealand’s legal jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Commercial Solicitors with 3 to 6 years PQE at the $70,000-$100,000 level with experience in either large-scale commercial and corporate, including mergers and acquisitions, or in commercial leasing, contractual drafting and reviewing, business purchasing and sales, subdivisions, resource management and unit titles;
  • Relationship Property Solicitors at the $70,000-$100,000 level with 3 to 6 years of experience in litigated and non-litigated relationship property matters; 
  • General Practitioners with 2 to 6 years PQE at the $60,000-$90,000 level to cover a broad range of property, commercial and private client work;  
  • Senior Associates in general practice or commercial property, ideally with a client base although sometimes without. An aging population at the partnership level is fuelling demand as firms turn to succession planning. COVID-19 has motivated some partners to cut back on hours, become a special counsel or retire, which is creating opportunities in both mid-sized and small firms; 
  • Litigation Solicitors in civil and commercial with 2 to 6 years PQE in response to COVID-19-induced commercial and civil litigation cases, ranging from employment and relationship property to civil and commercial construction, insolvency and insurance;
  • Legal Executives with a legal executive diploma, residential and commercial property conveyancing experience as well as trusts, wills and estates experience.

Policy & Strategy

 
Within New Zealand’s policy and strategy jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Principal Advisers at the $120,000 and above level with a social policy subject matter background and experience in regulatory policy and stakeholder engagement with Maori Pacific policy;
  • Senior Policy Analysts and Advisors at the $110,000-$120,000 level with experience at the senior level and a strategic, big picture mindset as opposed to an operational policy focus. 

Property

 
Within New Zealand’s property jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:
 
  • Registered Valuers at the $90,000-$100,000 level with commercial experience, a property valuation degree and current registration. While residential valuers are sought too, demand is highest for commercial candidates;
  • Senior Building Surveyors at the $100,000-$120,000 level with commercial experience and a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors qualification.

Looking for a new job?  

If you are looking to advance your career in 2021, our free CV template and cover letter can help you stand out. Don’t forget to search our available jobs or explore our career advice hub for more practical tips.
 
Good luck. 
 

About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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