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Jobs Online monthly report – December 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 December 2010. The increase in job vacancies — in conjunction with other labour market data — indicates that employment prospects in the economy are improving.

Key points

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

There has been a considerable increase in the number of job advertisements compared to the September 2010 quarter.

There is normally a sharp fall in job advertising during the month of December. In December 2010 the fall was much less than in December 2009. This resulted in a strong increase in the job vacancy index, which adjusts for seasonal and irregular changes in the data.

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 53.9%, and total vacancies have increased by 57.0%. We expect the upward trend shown by Jobs Online to continue over the coming months in line with the recovery in the labour market.

Despite the increase in vacancies as measured by Jobs Online, the number of skilled job advertisements in December 2010 remains 21.4% lower than in March 2008, when the index was at its peak.

Commentary

Job advertisements increase further…

The latest figures from Jobs Online shows a considerable increase in the number of job advertisements over the December 2010 quarter. The rate of growth eased in the September quarter but has rebounded over the December quarter. Skilled vacancies[1] increased by 7.1% in the December quarter, up from 5.2% in the September quarter. Over the past year, skilled vacancies increased by 38.8%. Total vacancies increased by 6.9% in the December quarter, up from 5.1% growth in the September quarter. Over the past year, total vacancies increased by 38.3%.

Job advertisements have been increasing consistently since June 2009, when they were at their lowest point due to the recession. Since June 2009, total vacancies are up by 57.0% and skilled vacancies are up by 53.9%.
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

…as the labour market continues to recover.

The increase in the number of advertised vacancies over the December 2010 quarter, as measured by Jobs Online, indicates that employment prospects in the economy continue to improve. This is consistent with the latest results from National Bank’s Business Outlook and NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) which both show employers intend to increase staffing levels in the short-term. The latest results from the QSBO also show that the economy has performed better in the December 2010 quarter compared to the September 2010 quarter. This is in line with the Department’s view of a continued recovery in employment over the coming year.

With employment expected to continue growing over the next year, we forecast the unemployment rate reported in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) to trend down gradually, falling to around 6% by mid-2011.

Skilled job advertisements have increased in most regions…

Skilled vacancies increased in most regions in the December 2010 quarter. Table 1 shows that growth was the strongest in Auckland (up 9.0%), followed by Christchurch (up 7.8%) and Wellington (up 6.7%). Skilled vacancies rose by 3.9% in the North Island (excluding Auckland and Wellington), but there was a drop of 0.6% in skilled vacancies in the South Island (excluding Christchurch). On an annual basis, skilled vacancies increased for all regions.

The main drivers of growth in skilled vacancies in Auckland over the past three months were the IT (up 11.5%), and hospitality and tourism (up 9.4%) industries.

In Christchurch, the construction and engineering industry continues to have the strongest growth (up 27.3%). The strong growth in Canterbury is to be expected given the reconstruction activity needed following the earthquake.

Table 1 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region
Region Sep 10 – Dec 10 Dec 09 – Dec 10
Auckland 9.0% 48.2%
Wellington 6.7% 35.2%
North Island – other 3.9% 30.1%
Christchurch 7.8% 30.2%
South Island – other -0.6% 12.8%
Nationwide 7.1% 38.8%

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 in all industries...

Table 2 shows that growth in the number of advertised skilled vacancies increased across all industry groups. The largest increases in the December 2010 quarter were in IT (up 12.6%), construction and engineering (up 7.0%) and hospitality and tourism (up 6.9%).

Table 2: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group
Industry group Sep 10 – Dec 10 Dec 09 – Dec 10
IT 12.6% 69.3%
Construction and engineering 7.0% 48.1%
Hospitality and tourism 6.9% 33.6%
Education and training 6.0% 13.5%
Accounting, HR, legal, administration 4.2% 19.8%
Sales, retail, marketing, advertising 3.1% 23.8%
Healthcare and medical 0.4% 9.7%
Other 8.1% 45.0%

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

…and increased across all skilled occupational groups.

Advertised skilled vacancy growth has increased across all the major skilled occupational groups. Job advertisements for technicians and trades workers showed the strongest growth in the December quarter (up 10.8%), followed by managers (up 9.3%).

Table 3: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) for highest-skilled groups
Occupational group Sep 10 – Dec 10 Dec 09 – Dec 10
Managers 9.3% 35.9%
Professionals 6.0% 36.7%
Technicians and trades workers 10.8% 54.5%
All skilled occupations 7.1% 38.8%

Table 4 takes a more detailed look at occupational groups, and shows that vacancies for most of the groups have exceeded their December 2009 levels. The percentages in Table 4 represent the change in the average number of job advertisements in the December 2010 quarter from the average number in the December 2009 quarter.

Table 4: Change in advertised vacancies for selected skilled occupations[2]
December 2009 quarter against December 2010 quarter.
Occupational Group Sub group[3] Dec 09 – Dec 10
Managers Chief executives, general managers and legislators 20%
Specialist managers 20%
Hospitality, retail and service managers 21%
Professionals Arts and media professionals 29%
Business, human resource and marketing professionals 17%
Design, engineering, science and transport professionals 33%
Education professionals -5%
Health professionals -16%
ICT professionals 49%
Legal, social and welfare professionals 4%
Technicians and trades workers Engineering, ICT and science technicians 25%
Automotive and engineering trades workers 56%
Construction trades workers 41%
Electro-technology and telecommunications trades workers 56%
Food trades workers 29%
Skilled animal and horticultural workers 21%
Other technicians and trades workers 5%
Community and personal service workers Health and welfare support workers -11%
Sports and personal service workers 27%
Clerical and administrative workers Office managers and program administrators 27%
Personal assistants and secretaries 18%
Inquiry clerks and receptionists 46%
Other clerical and administrative workers 18%
Sales workers Sales representatives and agents -2%

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 Information and Analysis 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
[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.