After a year of uncertainty, New Zealand’s job market came out of 2020 looking considerably better than expected,
according to analysis of over 55,500 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs for the quarter ending 31 December 2020.
Trade Me Jobs spokesperson Matt Tolich said in the final quarter of 2020 the number of job listings nationwide was
relatively flat, down just 1 per cent when compared to the same time in 2019. “This is a phenomenal outcome given the
year that was, blowing even the most optimistic economic predictions out of the water.
“Looking at December alone, job listings nationwide were up 8 per cent on the year prior which is some pretty incredible
Mr Tolich said it was the provinces that had the strongest end to the year with twelve of New Zealand’s fifteen regions
seeing an annual increase in job listings. “When we take a closer look at the country, we can see the regions really
carried the quarter with some seeing strong double-digit growth in job vacancies.
“The biggest year-on-year listing increase was seen in Manawatu/Whanganui where listings were up by 32 per cent. The
region’s largest district, Palmerston North, saw a 26 per cent increase in listings.
Other regions that saw substantial listing increases were Nelson/Tasman, Northland and Taranaki, with Q4 listings all up
18 per cent year-on-year. The only exception was Otago which saw listings dip 9 per cent.
However, Mr Tolich said there was another factor that may have played a role in the quarter’s outcome. “A lot of
businesses were forced to make deep cuts when we entered lockdown. By the time the last quarter of 2020 rolled around,
the economy was in much better shape and rehiring for these roles likely accounts for some of the stability we saw last
“Listing numbers were not the only sign of market stability last quarter. We also saw a 2 per cent year-on-year increase
in the national average salary, which rose to $63,177.”
Mr Tolich said the job market had kicked off 2021 in great shape. “It’s remarkable to see the job market looking so
healthy when we consider the economic uncertainty that employers faced in 2020 - it’s great to see things looking up as
we head into a new year.”Auckland hit the hardest
Auckland was hit the hardest in the last quarter of 2020 with job listings in the region falling 15 per cent on the same
time in 2019, while listings in Auckland City were down 19 per cent.
Mr Tolich said every sector saw a drop in listing numbers in the region, with the exception of hospitality & tourism. “The number of listings in this sector was up 5 per cent year-on-year, which is likely in part due to the deep
cuts made by Auckland employers earlier in the year.”
Mr Tolich said some large sectors in Auckland saw a significant annual drop in job listings with customer service (down
48 per cent), office & administration (down 46 per cent), and marketing, media & communications (down 42 per cent).
Despite the drop in Auckland job listings last quarter, Mr Tolich said it’s not all bad news for the region. “Job
listings in the Auckland region were still up 2 per cent when compared with Q3 and all things considered, this is a
positive indicator that the market is entering recovery mode.”
Mr Tolich said the region’s average salary was $65,879 in Q4, up 2 per cent from the same period in 2019.
Wellington sees listings fall and salaries rise
Following Auckland’s trend, job vacancies in Wellington were down 3 per cent on the year prior.
Despite seeing an overall drop in job listings, Mr Tolich said the Wellington region saw a 3 per cent increase in its
average salary when compared with Q4 2019. “The region’s average salary was $69,897, up from $67,512 this time in the
“If we look at Wellington City alone, the salary increase was even larger at $72,976 up 5 per cent year-on-year and
continuing to rein as the highest paid district in the country.”
Mr Tolich puts the salary increase down to a high volume of high paying roles being listed onsite. “Construction & roading is the second largest category in the region and the sector saw a 30 per increase in listing numbers and a 13
per cent increase in average salary ($75,020) in Q4 when compared with the same period in 2019.”Mixed bag in the sectorsMr Tolich said a number of sectors showed significant growth last quarter, with the biggest year-on-year increases seen
in property (up 20%), fishing & forestry (14%), automotive (13%) and manufacturing & operations (12%).
“We know both the property and motors sectors were extremely busy in Q4 last year as many Kiwis redirected their funds
and chose to purchase property or a new car, so it wasn’t surprising that job listings in these sectors were up
Mr Tolich said the customer service sector saw the largest year-on-year drop in listings last quarter, down 36 per cent
when compared with the same quarter in 2019. “Architecture and office & administration saw some big drops in listings too, both down 33 per cent year-on-year in Q4.”
Mr Tolich added that the lack of overseas workers was making it tough for some sectors to find talent. “While sectors
like fishing & forestry typically experience a seasonal jump in Q4, in 2020 with no overseas workers to fill these roles, employers
were forced to look locally and this is contributing to some big jumps in job listings.”IT roles the top earningMr Tolich said all five of the top-paying roles onsite were in the IT sector in Q4.
“Many employers looked to IT to help their business adapt and survive the pandemic, and as a result businesses have had
to pay top dollar to compete and secure the candidates they want.The highest paying role was IT project management, with
an average salary of $140,811.”
“Nationwide, the biggest year-on-year increases in average pay were seen in executive & general management (up 9%), HR & recruitment (up 8%), manufacturing & operations (up 7%), and retail (up 6%).”