But the latest data from SEEK suggests that the job market may be turning a corner.
Here’s a look at what’s happening, which industries are hiring and what employers are looking for when you apply for a role.
Signs of recovery
SEEK data shows job advertising in the fortnight ending 28 June was at 57.1% of pre-COVID-19 levels (February 2020). “For job seekers this is welcome news, as it’s a long way from the job data we saw during the lowest point of the pandemic, which was April 2020,” says Janet Faulding, General Manager SEEK NZ.
There are positive signs in the regions, with the majority showing an increase in job ad volumes compared to pre-COVID-19.
Demand in all the main centres are all over half way back to pre-COVID levels:
- Wellington (63%)
- Canterbury (56%)
- Auckland (51%)
Where the jobs are
Many industries which were hit hard by lockdown have seen an uptick in job ad volumes as restrictions ease.
Here are the industries with the most job ads on site, and how job ad numbers compare to pre-COVID-19:
- Trades & Services (59%): roles such as Building Trades, Labourers and Automotive Trades
- Information & Communication Technology (54%): Developers/ Programmers, Business/ Systems Analysts, Software Engineering, Help Desk & IT Support and Project Management
- Healthcare & Medical (82%): Psychology, Counselling & Social Work and Nursing (Aged Care and General Medical), Physiotherapy, Dental and Medical Administration
- Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics (57%): Warehousing, Storage & Distribution, Machine Operators and Assembly & Process Work and Road Transport
- Construction (57%): Project Management, Foreperson/ Supervisors, Plant & Machinery Operators
Kiwis are feeling less uncertain
While the rising job ads are a good sign, there’s still a way to go. Working situations are ‘back to normal’ for just 12% of people.
The easing of restrictions has meant people are feeling less uncertain than they were in May.
Research conducted on behalf of SEEK shows a slight improvement in the number of people who feel there aren’t enough jobs out there (49% in May vs. 43% in June) and on average, Kiwis are feeling more secure in their jobs than they did in previous months (71% in June vs. 66% in May).
One industry looking for employees
As one of New Zealand’s largest employers, Foodstuffs is made up of two regional co-operatives – Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island. Together, the retail and wholesale businesses employ 39,000 people nationwide.
In March, Foodstuffs was looking for extra staff as COVID-19 sent demand for supermarket items into overdrive. Throughout the crisis, the organisation employed 1,633 new team members into short-term roles in the business, half of whom have stayed on.
Now New Zealand is at Alert Level 1, and Foodstuffs are recruiting for a number of diverse roles. Roles include logistics and supply chain management, merchandising, financial services and strategic planning, says Head of Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, Antoinette Laird.
What they’re looking for in job applications
“We are always on the lookout for people who have passion, show commitment and share our values,” Laird says. “Distilling specific examples of key relevant experiences, projects that you have supported or led as well as relevant achievements that demonstrate your technical and soft skills is incredibly valuable and useful in your job application.”
How you can stand out
Laird says it’s helpful if you can help potential employers to understand your motivation and the reason you’re applying for a particular role. “If you can provide a concise resume that specifically highlights your relevant transferable skills, this will help you stand out,” she says.
This transferable skills checklist could be a good place to start. You can also look at other ways to stand out in the job market, such as finding your unique selling point, or updating your SEEK Profile.
While you might not feel quite as optimistic or positive as you were before the COVID-19 outbreak, more jobs are being advertised than when we were in the peak of the pandemic. By looking at the industries where jobs are now, and identifying ways you can stand out such as highlighting your transferable skills, you’ll be in a better position to find a role that suits you and your situation.
Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually.