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The skills most in-demand in 2022

New Zealand’s job market trends constantly evolve, with certain skills more in-demand with employers than others. Knowing what skills are needed can help guide your future career and learning plans and ensure you remain in employment. For employers, knowledge of the skills in demand can inform your workforce planning and internal training and development efforts, enabling you to upskill staff to overcome skills gaps.

Below you’ll find today’s most in demand skills. We update this list regularly in line with the latest recruitment trends to ensure you remain competitive – whether you’re looking to get hired or add to your team. 

The factors driving demand   

Whether driven by technological change or unexpected disruptions such as COVID-19, recruitment trends and the top skills in demand naturally evolve over time. 

Right now, we’ve never seen such a candidate short job market in so many industries. Despite easing COVID-19 travel restrictions and the opening of borders, vacancy activity is elevated to the extent that it’s expected to take two years before internal and external migration curbs domestic skills shortages in certain fields. The expected departure of young New Zealanders in 2022 for their overseas work experience will further add to the skills shortage.   
 
At the same time, the pandemic and 2021 lockdowns prompted many people to re-evaluate their work-life priorities. As a result, record numbers plan to quit their jobs in a trend the media coined ‘The Great Resignation’. This adds to candidate-short pressure, with demand exceeding supply. Together, the resulting momentum is fuelling a long list of skills in demand. 

Top five skills in demand

We’ve examined job market trends across the 20 industries and sectors we recruit for here in New Zealand, and below are the top 5 most in-demand skills that companies need nationally. These are the skills that are in strongest demand relative to supply. We’ve focused on job titles to reveal the exact hard or technical skills at the apex of the supply and demand imbalance. If you’re interested in the top soft skills in demand, we have also complied the seven job ready soft skills you need today

1. IT Project Managers

IT Project Managers are in greatest demand to lead digital transformation programs. Organisations of all sizes require experienced Project Managers to scope and deliver complex programs. Successful candidates work within agile frameworks, have exceptional communication skills and bridge the gap between stakeholders and non-technical experts.
 

2. Civil Project Managers 

Within civil construction, recruitment activity is high for Project Managers with a New Zealand qualification and strong local experience. A Three Waters background is ideal. Hiring demand is evident across the country for candidates who have progressed their career from the ground up in a market that is already experiencing skills shortages. 

3. Talent Acquisition Specialists

Talent Acquisition professionals are in extremely short supply, particularly those with technology or high-volume recruitment experience. Proactive sourcing expertise is valued. Suitable employees must have well-developed networks and demonstrable experience sourcing talent in a candidate short market. Employers also want experience managing high volume portfolios and the ability to work at pace, think creatively and be solutions focused. Strong stakeholder engagement, communication and expectation management skills are valued. Candidates with technology discipline experience are in especially high demand as this industry grows rapidly.

4. Digital Marketing Specialists 

Digital Marketing Specialists with strong technical and soft skills are required. Employers want marketeers who can work well both autonomously and in a team. A commercial and growth mindset and passion for keeping up-to-date with the latest trends is essential. To stand out, candidates must prove their results with key metrics, innovate, adapt, and apply theoretical knowledge to the real world. A demonstrated passion for marketing is essential. 

5. Payroll Officers

Payroll is an area of continuous and extreme demand. While recruitment activity for many accountancy & finance skills fluctuates based on seasonal trends, payroll is required year-round. However, the shortage of suitable talent pushes this job into the top 5 of skills in demand nationally. When they recruit, employers look for Payroll Officers with relevant systems knowledge, strong Excel skills and experience working with a similar volume of employees. The ability to work in a fast-paced environment, good tenure, ERP skills and a strong interview performance are essential. 

Other skills in demand

Software Developers 

Significant demand exists for Software Developers as New Zealand organisations invest in application development to improve their customers’ digital channels. While the languages, frameworks and products vary from organisation to organisation, JavaScript is the most popular, with demand also high for C#, Java, PHP, Ruby and Python. Experience working with modern JavaScript frameworks such as Angular, React and Vue is an added bonus, as is experience with cloud-based technology such as AWS or Azure. In addition to technical skills, hiring managers want well-rounded candidates with strong problem solving and communication skills. 

Finance Managers and Senior Financial Accountants 

Finance Managers and Senior Financial Accountants with strong interpersonal and business partnering skills are needed. Hiring managers require either a CA or CPA qualification, solid commercial experience, relevant industry experience and ERP systems exposure.

Assistant Accountants 

A lack of skilled migrants has created a supply shortage of candidates for both permanent and temporary non-qualified Assistant Accountant roles. These roles are typically used as an entry-point into New Zealand’s commercial industry, but staffing demand outweighs supply. 

Business Development Managers 

Employers are looking for Business Development Managers with exceptional sales skills. Demand is high in organisations of all sizes for candidates with a technical background or experience selling technologies.

Civil Engineers  

Civil Engineers with land development experience are required for the design of subdivision projects from initial conception through to construction. Those with Civil 3D experience or 12D experience are sought.

Civil tradespeople  

Qualified Drainlayers, Machine Operators and Civil Labourers are in high demand in New Zealand’s active civil construction market. Employers require qualified and ticketed Drainlayers and experienced Machine Operators who can pass drug tests, have their own transport and are willing to travel. Reliability is a must. 

Quantity Surveyors

There is a shortage of reliable and committed Quantity Surveyors across all disciplines. Employers request degree qualified candidates with New Zealand experience, relevant sector experience and longevity in their previous roles.

Estimators 

We are also seeing high recruitment demand for Estimators in all disciples. Like Quantity Surveyors, candidates must be degree qualified with relevant and recent New Zealand experience.

Architectural Technicians 

Within the architecture sector, there is huge demand for Architectural Technicians with ArchiCAD or Revit experience and a strong technical background producing working drawings and documentation for both residential and commercial projects. Employers want candidates who can hit the ground running and do not require software training. 

Site Managers  

Site Managers with a strong carpentry and trade background are in high demand. Employers request candidates with the ability to drive forward the construction program and take responsibility for all subtrades. Strong health & safety compliance is expected.

Residential Forepersons   

Forepersons are in short supply in residential construction. Candidates must be strong communicators with expert knowledge of best practice building standards. They must possess a New Zealand trade qualification, while Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) are preferred.  

Mechanical HVAC Engineers 

Mechanical HVAC Engineers are in high demand in New Zealand, however very particular skills are sought. Hiring managers look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and solid previous experience. Candidates must also be able to lead a small team and complete design for HVAC turnkey projects. Experience in putting New Zealand Building Codes and Standards into place within their current role is necessary.

Construction Site Administrators

Construction Site Administrators with solid consistent experience in the construction industry are in demand. 

Carpenters 

Carpenters with exposure to residential and commercial builds and fitouts are required in today’s recruitment market. Candidates must be trade qualified, possess their own tools and have solid previous experience in framing, installing doors, finishing and building from the ground up. With project deadlines continuing to tighten, hiring demand exceeds supply.

Electricians

Registered Electricians with experience working across residential, commercial and industrial are in high demand. Candidates must be capable of overseeing apprentices on projects. 

HVAC Technicians

Demand is high for skilled and qualified HVAC Technicians who can work independently. Ideally, employers want a candidate with an electrical license who enjoys completing installation and service/maintenance work.  

Plumbers

Registered Plumbers with experience working on new residential and commercial projects are needed for projects. Candidates who are certifying or planning to go through this process stand out. 

Advice for employers

If you need to recruit candidates in short supply, our advice is to firstly review and promote your EVP. Undertake workforce planning to understand your skills requirements, conduct a skills gap analysis, and consider how you can upskill existing staff to fill gaps. Make use of temporary workers to alleviate the pressure short-term until a new permanent team member can be sourced. 

Of course, a competitive salary and benefits package is essential. So, too, is keeping on top of job market trends. As we’ve seen from the data in our Hays Salary Guide, career progression opportunities, training and upskilling are very important to candidates, and can differentiate you from other employers in the race for top talent. Other increasingly common benefits include over 20 days of annual leave, mental health and wellness programs and payment of professional membership fees. 

For roles that were completed remotely during lockdowns, hybrid working is no longer viewed as a benefit – it’s expected. After all, candidates believe that if they were required to work remotely during lockdowns, they should be able to do so long term. Consequently, organisations that don’t offer regular hybrid working now struggle to attract top talent. 

Advice for job candidates

Your skills may be in demand, but preparation plays a key role in your ability to secure a new job today. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile, prepare concrete evidence of your achievements to share in your CV and interviews and plan your job search.    

It’s also important to upskill regularly to stay on top of the latest job market trends in your field. If you haven’t already done so, set career goals so you have a clear plan of action to work towards to achieve your development needs and career ambitions.  

Be realistic in your salary expectations by understanding typical salaries for your role in relation to the latest job market trends. Salaries are increasing for skills in demand, but only so far – there is an expectation gap between what professionals expect and employers can offer. Therefore, consider whether non-financial benefits can bridge the divide. Talk to your recruitment consultant if you are unsure about your salary expectations or the latest recruitment trends.

Finally, make sure you take care of your mental health & wellbeing at work and throughout your jobs search.