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Jobs Online monthly report – August 2010

Overview

Jobs Online measures changes in job vacancies advertised on the main internet job boards.

Jobs Online shows that job advertisements have increased over the three months to the end of August 2010. The increase in job vacancies — in conjunction with other labour market data — indicates that employment prospects in the economy continue to gradually improve.

Key points

Jobs Online shows that in the three months to the end of August 2010:

The number of job vacancies has increased consistently since June 2009, when they were at their lowest point due to the recession. Since then, skilled vacancies have increased by 41.1%, and total vacancies have increased by 44.4%.

Despite the increases in vacancies as measured by Jobs Online, the number of skilled job advertisements in August 2010 remains 26.9% lower than in March 2008, when the index was at its peak. However, we expect the trends shown by Jobs Online will continue over the next year in line with the recovery in the labour market.

Commentary

Job advertisements increase further…

Jobs Online shows that the number of job advertisements grew strongly over the three months to the end of August 2010. Job advertisements have been increasing consistently since June 2009, when they were at their lowest point due to the recession, with total vacancies up by 44.4% and skilled vacancies up by 41.1%.

Total vacancies increased by 7.4% in the three months to the end of August 2010 and by 43% over the past year. Skilled vacancies1 increased by 7.7% in the three months to the end of August 2010 and by 40% since August 2009.

These trends are shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) and All Vacancies Index (AVI) - Trend series (May 2007=100).

Figure 1: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) and All Vacancies Index (AVI) - Trend series (May 2007=100)..

Data table for Figure 1

…although the labour market recovery is modest.

Jobs Online indicates that employment prospects in the economy have improved over 2010, although growth in job vacancies appears to have eased slightly in recent months. This is echoed in results from the NZIER’s June 2010 Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion and the National Bank’s Business Outlook for August 2010. Both surveys show that employers’ hiring intentions generally remain positive, although have eased slightly from the high levels seen earlier in the year.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) showed that the number of people in employment fell by 0.3% over the June 2010 quarter. However, labour market data has been volatile of late, and the fall in employment follows a 1.0% rise in the March 2010 quarter. Looking through this volatility and comparing with the December 2009 quarter, employment has risen by 15,000 and the unemployment rate has fallen from 7.1% to 6.8%. This is consistent with our view of a slowly improving labour market. We expect mild employment growth over the next year which will see the unemployment rate trend down gradually. However, there may be further volatility in the unemployment rate as the recovery remains patchy.

Skilled job advertisements have increased in all regions…

Skilled vacancies increased for all regions in the year to August 2010. Table 1 shows that in the three months to August 2010, growth was the strongest in Christchurch (up 10.1%) and Auckland (up 7.9%). Skilled vacancies also rose by 4.3% in the North Island (excluding Auckland and Wellington), by 3.8% in the South Island excluding Christchurch, and by 3.3% in Wellington.

Table 1 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region
Region May 10 – Aug 10 Aug 09 – Aug 10
Auckland 7.9% 46.2%
Wellington 3.3% 42.0%
North Island – other 4.3% 36.4%
Christchurch 10.1% 29.3%
South Island – other 3.8% 24.2%
Nationwide 7.7% 40.0%

Figure 2 below shows the long-term trends for Jobs Online by region.

Figure 2: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region - Trend series (May 2007=100)

Figure 2: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region - Trend series (May 2007=100).

Data table for Figure 2

…and increased across most industries.

Table 2 shows that the number of advertised skilled vacancies increased across most major industry groups. The largest increases in the three months to August 2010 were in IT (up 12.5%), construction and engineering (up 7.4%) and health and medical (up 6.5%).

Table 2 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group
Industry group May 10 – Aug 10 Aug 09 – Aug 10
IT 12.5% 63.0%
Construction and engineering 7.4% 41.7%
Health and medical 6.5% 7.6%
Hospitality and tourism 4.7% 41.4%
Accounting, HR, legal, administration 2.6% 21.6%
Sales, retail, marketing, advertising 1.3% 46.9%
Education and training -1.3% 2.3%
Other 9.6% 50.4%

Figure 3 below shows the long term vacancy trends for industry groups.

Figure 3: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group - Trend series (May 2007=100)

Figure 3: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group - Trend series (May 2007=100).

Data table for Figure 3

Vacancies also increased across all skilled occupational groups.

Advertised skilled vacancy growth was strong across all the major skilled occupational groups, as shown in Table 3 below. Job advertisements for professionals showed the strongest growth over the quarter (up 8.2%), followed by technicians and trades workers (up 8.0%). Annual growth was the strongest since the beginning of the series for these two occupational groups.

Table 3 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) for highest-skilled groups
Occupational group May 10 – Aug 10 Aug 09 – Aug 10
Managers 5.6% 37.2%
Professionals 8.2% 40.1%
Technicians and trades workers 8.0% 55.6%
All skilled occupations 7.7% 40.0%

Table 4 below takes a more detailed look at occupational groups, and shows that vacancies for almost all of the groups have exceeded their August 2009 levels. The percentages in Table 4 represent the change in the average number of job advertisements in the three months to 31 August 2010 from the average number in the three months to 31 August 2009.

Table 4 : Change in advertised vacancies for selected skilled occupations[2]
Three months to 31 August 2009 against three months to 31 August 2010.
Occupational Group Sub group[3] Aug 09 – Aug 10
Managers Chief executives, general managers and legislators 45%
Specialist managers 37%
Hospitality, retail and service managers 38%
Professionals Arts and media professionals 23%
Business, human resource and marketing professionals 33%
Design, engineering, science and transport professionals 32%
Education professionals 13%
Health professionals 0%
ICT professionals 56%
Legal, social and welfare professionals 17%
Technicians and trades workers Engineering, ICT and science technicians 60%
Automotive and engineering trades workers 65%
Construction trades workers 61%
Electro-technology and telecommunications trades workers 26%
Food trades workers 39%
Skilled animal and horticultural workers 38%
Other technicians and trades workers 35%
Community and personal service workers Health and welfare support workers 1%
Sports and personal service workers 59%
Clerical and administrative workers Office managers and program administrators 65%
Personal assistants and secretaries 28%
Inquiry clerks and receptionists 58%
Other clerical and administrative workers 4%
Sales workers Sales representatives and agents 14%

Methodology

Jobs Online includes two separate indices: the All Vacancy Index (AVI) tracks all job vacancies listed, and the Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) looks closer at skilled occupations[4]. The Skilled Vacancies Index is broken down further by detailed occupation, location and industry type. The results are presented as an index that measures changes in the number of job advertisements.

Vacancies are highly seasonal: for instance, there is usually a substantial fall in the numbers of jobs advertised during December and then a small increase in February. To remove such seasonality, the Jobs Online data reported here has been converted to a trend series[5], allowing us to compare figures between months.

Jobs Online replaces the previous Job Vacancy Monitoring Programme, which gathered data on job advertisements placed in newspapers. Jobs Online allows us to access a considerably larger number of advertisements in a timelier manner, and better reflects the dominance of online advertising in the recruitment sector, particularly in terms of advertised vacancies for skilled labour.

For more on Jobs Online, see the Background and Methodology report at http://www.dol.govt.nzmethodology or email the Labour Market Skills Team at info@mbie.govt.nz


[1] Skilled occupations are defined as skill levels 1-3 under the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 2006. Skill level 3 is equivalent to an NCEA level 4 qualification.

[2]Note: This is not a trend series, and differs from annual comparisons for the Skilled Vacancy Index. It is not yet possible to create a seasonally adjusted series for this table, as some of these occupational groups are small and the series has been running for such a short time.

[3] ANZSCO 2006 2 digit occupational groupings.

[4] Skilled occupations are defined as skill levels 1-3 under the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Skill level 3 is equivalent to an NCEA level 4 qualification. Vacancies for occupations outside these groups are much less likely to be advertised and may not be representative of labour market changes.

[5]Trend series have had both the seasonal and irregular components removed, and reveal the underlying direction of movement in a series.