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New Zealand – Finding work in a booming city

10 February 2014

Surveys are trumpeting all-time-high numbers of jobs in Canterbury (New Zeeland’s third largest city) but, according to press.co.nz it is not so easy to get a job outside of retail, hospitality and construction.

Statistics New Zealand employment figures released this week show Canterbury's unemployment rate has plunged to 3.4% from last year's 4.9%. Statistics show 19,200 more are employed compared to a year ago. But a closer look at the figures reveals that most of the increase in Canterbury's employment comes from the retail and hospitality sector (+ 7,600) and the construction industry (+7,400).

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures show the main source of new vacancies are in technicians and trades categories, while professionals and managers have remained largely unchanged in the year to September 2013.

The good jobs figures are largely due to the Canterbury rebuild initiative, one of the biggest economic undertakings in the history of New Zealand, helping to rebuild the community following the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Graham Ewing, owner of executive search and selection management consultancy EQI Global, says the rebuild has not created new executive jobs in Canterbury.

"If you look at the rebuild, it's attracted everything to do with design and construction. It has brought in project managers, technical supervisors, but no senior executives. The rebuild hasn't impacted at all on the senior executive market."

Ewing says the market for executive roles has been stable and consistent for a long time. "It's a very small market and has always been."

Randstad operations manager for Christchurch Penni Hlaca confirms senior roles are in short supply. "We are seeing a lot of skilled candidates at a senior level who are finding it hard to find a good role."

Hays New Zealand managing director, Jason Walker, says companies involved in the rebuild often have head offices elsewhere. He also reports a decline in processing roles following investments from businesses in new IT infrastructure.

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