Canterbury job market jumps on rebuild

NICK KRAUSE
Last updated 13:12 10/04/2012

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The Canterbury rebuild is driving double-digit growth in the job market, according to Trade Me.

However the rise in job listings on the website remains "stagnant" in the other main centres, it said.

The number of advertised vacancies on Trade Me Jobs during the first quarter of 2012 was up 18 per cent on the same time last year, the company reported today.

This was based on analysis of 39,000 roles advertised on the site.

The rise echoed the 21 per cent increase seen in the fourth quarter of 2011, Trade Me said.

Canterbury showed explosive growth with the number of jobs being advertised up 81 per cent compared with a year ago, while Wellington and Auckland were stagnant with job listings below the national average. They rose 3 and 4 per cent respectively.

Peter Ashby, the head of Trade Me Jobs said it was no surprise to see the rebuilding effort in Christchurch driving massive growth in construction and architecture, and trade and services roles, with listings up 65 per cent and 47 per cent respectively on a year ago.

"As building sites emerge and redevelopment plans are drawn up, the market is especially hot for site managers, labourers, machine operators, and painters and decorators," he said.

With the rebuild expected to take up to 20 years to complete demand for different roles would wax and wane, but accountants would remain in constant demand, Ashby said.

"As the economy heads in a positive direction, the need for numerate, financially savvy people increases as businesses grow and look to cope with the rising workload.

However overall salaries were "flat as a pancake", Ashby said, down 0.2 per cent. He put this down to a lukewarm economy.

Employers' confidence remained on tenterhooks with the economy in a weaker state than many predicted and demand for skilled workers was softening.

"However recent updates point to economic growth kicking in later this year as the post-quake rebuild ramps up."

In the regions, public sector employment was down in the capital as government cost-cutting continued.

In Auckland, Manukau was a strong performer with significant employer demand for IT programmers and testers as well as accountants. Elsewhere in the city, the number of listings for accounting roles was up 43 per cent, followed by construction which was up 31 per cent and trades and services which rose 13 per cent.

Agriculture, fishing and forestry rose 32 per cent on a year ago although it would be interesting to see whether the 15 cent cut in the forecast payout by dairy giant Fonterra last month would have a knock-on affect with hiring in the dairy sector, he said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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