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Jobs Online monthly report – September 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 September 2010. The increase in job vacancies — in conjunction with other labour market data — indicates that employment prospects in the economy have improved but growth in job vacancies is easing.

Key points

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

The recent growth in job vacancies have been easing slightly compared to last month but remains positive. This is a reflection of an easing in employers’ hiring intentions as reported by other labour market data, i.e. Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) and various banks’ economic reports.

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 41.7%, and total vacancies have increased by 45.1%.

Despite the increases in vacancies as measured by Jobs Online, the number of skilled job advertisements in September 2010 remains 26.6% lower than in March 2008, when the index was at its peak. However, we expect the trends shown by Jobs Online to 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 continued to grow over the three months to the end of September 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 45.1% and skilled vacancies up by 41.7%.

Growth in job advertisements has eased over recent months. Total vacancies increased by 5.1% in the three months to the end of September 2010 and by 41% over the past year. Skilled vacancies[1] increased by 5.2% in the three months to the end of September 2010. This is down by around three percentage points compared to growth in the three months to June 2010. Over the past year, skilled vacancies increased by 38.5%.

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 continues to ease. This is echoed in results from the National Bank’s Business Outlook for September 2010[2]. The survey showed that employers’ hiring intentions have eased slightly from the high levels seen earlier in the year but have generally remained positive. On the other hand, latest results from NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion for September 2010 showed that hiring intentions have improved compared to the previous quarter but growth in new hiring has eased. Latest BERL Forecasts for September 2010 expects a modest recovery in job numbers.

The latest HLFS report 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 at the HLFS trend data and comparing it with the December 2009 quarter, the number employed has risen and the unemployment rate dropped. This is consistent with our view of a slowly recovering labour market. We expect mild employment growth over the next year which will see the unemployment rate trend down gradually, falling to around 6.0% by mid-2011. However, there may be further volatility in the unemployment rate as the recovery remains subdued.

Skilled job advertisements have increased in most regions…

Skilled vacancies increased in most regions in the three months to September 2010. Table 1 shows that growth was the strongest in the main centres: Christchurch (up 7.7%), Auckland (up 6.3%) and Wellington (up by 2.6%). Skilled vacancies also rose by 1.8% in the North Island (excluding Auckland and Wellington). However, there was a drop of 3.3% in skilled vacancies in the South Island (excluding Christchurch) during this period. In the year to September 2010, skilled vacancies increased for all regions.

The main driver of the increase in Christchurch over the last three months is in the IT industry (up 7.7%). Jobs Online data shows that there has been a decreasing trend in advertised construction vacancies in the city over recent months. However, over the quarter, the raw data for the construction industry in Christchurch shows a marked increase in job advertisements, as might be expected given the start of the recovery from the recent earthquake. The difference in these figures is explained by the fact that the standard Jobs Online data is based on trended series[3] data which deliberately removes the impact of irregular events such as the earthquake.

In Auckland, the main drivers of growth in skilled advertised vacancies in this region are in the IT (up 13.6%) and healthcare and medical (up 10.2%) industries.

Table 1 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region
Region June 10 – Sept 10 Sept 09 –Sept 10
Auckland 6.3% 45.2%
Wellington 2.6% 40.9%
North Island – other 1.8% 34.3%
Christchurch 7.7% 26.7%
South Island – other -3.3% 16.9%
Nationwide 5.2% 38.5%

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 some industries.

Table 2 shows that growth in the number of advertised skilled vacancies varied significantly across industry groups. The largest increases in the three months to September 2010 were in IT (up 12%), accounting, HR, legal and administration (up 3.6%) and health and medical (up 3.5%).

On the other hand, after showing consistent growth in the last few months, construction and engineering showed a mild drop of 0.5%. Other industries that showed a decrease in job vacancies are in sales, retail, marketing and advertising (down 1%), hospitality and tourism (down 1.8%) and education and training (down 3.7%).

Table 2 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group
Industry group June 10 – Sept 10 Sept 09 – Sept 10
IT 12.0% 66.6%
Accounting, HR, legal, administration 3.6% 23.2%
Health and medical 3.5% 7.4%
Construction and engineering -0.5% 37.5%
Sales, retail, marketing, advertising -1.0% 38.1%
Hospitality and tourism -1.8% 27.1%
Education and training -3.7% 0.3%
Other 8.2% 49.4%

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 increased across all skilled occupational groups.

Advertised skilled vacancy growth was strong across all the major skilled occupational groups, as shown in Table 3. Job advertisements for professionals showed the strongest growth in the three months to September 2010 (up 5.6%), followed by technicians and trades workers (up 4.9%).

Table 3 : Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) for highest-skilled groups
Occupational group June 10 – Sept 10 Sept 09 – Sept 10
Managers 3.7% 33.2%
Professionals 5.6% 39.9%
Technicians and trades workers 4.9% 51.1%
All skilled occupations 5.2% 38.5%

Table 4 takes a more detailed look at occupational groups, and shows that vacancies for all of the groups have exceeded their September 2009 levels. The percentages in Table 4 represent the change in the average number of job advertisements in the three months to 30 September 2010 from the average number in the three months to 30 September 2009.

Table 4 : Change in advertised vacancies for selected skilled occupations[4]
Three months to 30 September 2009 against three months to 30 September 2010.
Occupational Group Sub group[5] Sept 09 – Sept 10
Managers Chief executives, general managers and legislators 51%
Specialist managers 35%
Hospitality, retail and service managers 40%
Professionals Arts and media professionals 39%
Business, human resource and marketing professionals 38%
Design, engineering, science and transport professionals 34%
Education professionals 12%
Health professionals 1%
ICT professionals 64%
Legal, social and welfare professionals 27%
Technicians and trades workers Engineering, ICT and science technicians 60%
Automotive and engineering trades workers 73%
Construction trades workers 77%
Electro-technology and telecommunications trades workers 21%
Food trades workers 33%
Skilled animal and horticultural workers 58%
Other technicians and trades workers 33%
Community and personal service workers Health and welfare support workers 6%
Sports and personal service workers 61%
Clerical and administrative workers Office managers and program administrators 53%
Personal assistants and secretaries 28%
Inquiry clerks and receptionists 66%
Other clerical and administrative workers 11%
Sales workers Sales representatives and agents 23%

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[6]. 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[7], 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] Latest results show that only 1% of firms expect to be hiring staff over the coming year (down from last month's 4%).

[3] See the Methodology section at the end of the report.

[4] 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.

[5] ANZSCO 2006 2-digit occupational groupings.

[6] 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.

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