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Jobs Report Legal NZ - Jul to Dec 2018


July – December 2018

Hotspots of skills in demand 

Over half (53 per cent) of employers in New Zealand expect to increase permanent staff levels in the next 12 months, exceeding the 8 per cent who say they’ll decrease. According to the 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide, 18 per cent also expect to increase their use of temporary and contract staff, exceeding the 11 per cent who anticipate decreasing in this area. Meanwhile, 21 per cent now employ temporary and contract staff on a regular ongoing basis, with another 41 per cent employing them for special projects or workloads.

Given vacancy activity, hotspots of skills in demand are emerging. Demand will be high for Construction Lawyers in response to the high number of construction and infrastructure projects underway. Both front-end and back-end lawyers are needed.

Commercial Property Lawyers continue to be sought, particularly at the intermediate and senior levels. An increasing number of commercial developments is fuelling this demand, yet commercial property is a technical field that does not appeal to everyone. In addition, employers want candidates with hands-on experience.

Corporate and Commercial Lawyers are needed at the intermediate and senior level. With business confidence strong, demand is set to continue.

Employment Solicitors with two to five years PQE are required. This is a very specific field in law and so there is a shortage of experienced candidates.

Agriculture Solicitors are in demand. Another specific area of law, there are few candidates with relevant experience.

Resource Management Lawyers are sought since a number of large tenders have been won recently.

Litigation Lawyers are in demand. This is a stark contrast to the end of 2017, when there was little demand in this area.

Senior Family Solicitors are sought too. These candidates rarely move firms, thus there is a shortage of experienced professionals.

Given the extent of candidate shortages across the legal sector, firms are starting to offer flexible working options where possible. Part-time hours and working offsite are very effective methods of attracting and retaining talent.

Salary trends

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of employers will give skilled professionals a pay rise of less than 3 per cent in their next review while 8 per cent will not increase salaries at all. According to the 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide, a further 22 per cent will give staff an increase of 3 to 6 per cent. Just 6 per cent will increase by 6 per cent or more.

Employees however have higher expectations for a salary increase. Over two-thirds (69 per cent) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. 26 per cent expect an increase of 6 per cent or more. A further 22 per cent expect an increase of between 3 to 6 per cent. At the other end of the scale, 19 per cent do not expect any increase and 33 per cent expect less than 3 per cent.

For more, see our Hays Salary Guide

Jobseeker advice

Upskilling has become a constant requirement to remain employable in today’s rapidly changing world of work. After all, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and rapidly gaining ground. Many jobs are being automated via technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and cloud computing.

Research from management consulting firm McKinsey suggests about 60% of occupations could see at least a third of their job tasks automated. Meanwhile, a report published by Deloitte claims the half-life of learned skills is now about five years.

To find out how to stay relevant and employable in the face of all this rapid change, see our upskilling advice here.