Christchurch rebuild design boosts hiring plans

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 05:00 12/09/2012

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Rebuilding Christchurch

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The Christchurch Central Development Unit blueprint has boosted building firms' hiring confidence to record levels, but nationwide that confidence is lower than a year ago, a ManpowerGroup survey shows.

The recruitment company surveyed 650 Kiwi employers, with more than a quarter expecting to increase staff and 8 per cent looking at decreasing workforces in the final quarter of this year.

The net, seasonally adjusted employment confidence outlook was +18 per cent, which is 4 percentage points down on a year ago, according to the quarterly survey.

ManpowerGroup national manager Matt Love-Smith said the unfulfilled expectations of the rebuild had been borne out in the figures over the past year.

However, after the blueprint release, construction firms seemed to believe a pickup would start next year, he said.

ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand managing director Lincoln Crawley said the upbeat employment outlook was led by a surge in construction and mining job prospects, which are grouped together.

The July announcement of the Christchurch rebuild blueprint was driving some of that optimism.

"The anticipated increase in construction work has driven the sector's net employment outlook to +39 per cent, which is up by 9 percentage points from the previous quarter and is the strongest fourth-quarter outlook for the sector since the survey began in 2004," he said.

He expected a rise in project managers, construction and site managers, and quantity surveyors as plans were finalised and put into action.

Transportation and utilities companies were also buoyant, posting a +27 per cent net employment outlook, up 9 percentage points on the previous year.

Meanwhile, finance, insurance and real estate businesses were less likely to take on staff, falling 9 percentage points from a year ago to +8 per cent.

Christchurch employers were the most bullish, with an outlook of +24 per cent, with Auckland recording +18 per cent and Wellington just behind at +16 per cent.

Crawley said it was unsurprising that Christchurch had the strongest jobs outlook.

"An estimated 36,000 additional workers will be required at the height of the Christchurch rebuild," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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