employment market analysis and commentary

The 2024 New Zealand Employment Outlook Survey conducted by Randstad provides valuable insights into how employers and hiring managers perceive the year ahead. Here, we delve into the key findings, providing analysis and commentary on their implications for New Zealand’s labour market.

economic outlook

The survey findings indicate a generally optimistic outlook on New Zealand’s economic performance in 2024, with 43% of respondents expecting improvements and 42% forecasting stability. This optimism likely stems from the country’s resilience during challenging times, including the global pandemic. The positive outlook suggests that businesses anticipate favourable conditions for growth, potentially leading to increased hiring and investment. However, it’s important to note that external factors, such as global economic trends and geopolitical events, can influence these expectations. It will be interesting to see if the change in Government will renew business confidence, and be pivotal for shaping economic conditions for the future.

talent management issues

The top three talent concerns keeping hiring managers awake at night are the impacts of technology on the workforce (37%), staff retention (36%), and rapid shifts in skill requirements (31%). These concerns highlight the evolving nature of the contemporary employment landscape. The impact of technology underscores the need for upskilling and reskilling initiatives. The emphasis on the retention of staff and the cost of staff suggests a possible tightening in the labour market, potentially pushing companies to review and enhance their employer value propositions.

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hiring needs and talent acquisition

A combined 69% of companies anticipate increasing their hiring needs in 2024. The increased demand signals a prospective upswing in economic activity and expansion of businesses. However, with 30% finding it difficult to fill roles in human resources and 29% in accounting and finance, companies might face bottlenecks in sustaining growth momentum, necessitating innovative recruitment strategies and potentially increased reliance on external recruitment agencies. To attract and retain talent in a competitive market, organisations must offer competitive salaries, benefits, and career development opportunities.

skill requirements

Human resources (30%), accounting and finance (29%), and sales and relationship management (28%) emerge as the most difficult-to-fill job roles. These roles are often essential for business operations and growth. The increasing importance of problem-solving (46%), creative (41%), and technology skills (40%) highlights a shift towards more cognitive and tech-centric roles, necessitating a re-evaluation of hiring, learning and development frameworks. The significance placed on relationship management and innovation underscores the evolving expectations from employees to contribute towards organisational agility, adaptability, and customer-centricity. Organisations need to invest in training and development programs to nurture these skills among their workforce. A focus on technology skills is vital to navigate the digital transformation.

flexible work and remote management

With the prevailing acceptance of flexible work arrangements and a considerable number of companies contemplating more deliberate office returns (49%), it’s crucial to align organisational strategies with evolving workforce preferences. Challenges in maintaining staff productivity (54%), culture (36%), and leadership skills and capability (45%) in remote/hybrid models accentuate the need for developing comprehensive managerial competencies and robust communication infrastructures.

A man with a laptop resting his chin on his palm while smiling at something far away
A man with a laptop resting his chin on his palm while smiling at something far away

technology and AI impact

The impact of AI and technology transformation is evident, with organisations preparing by hiring new skills (63%) and reskilling impacted employees (48%). AI is expected to significantly modify the job landscape by impacting, replacing, and even creating roles. Organisations must stay ahead of the curve by continually assessing technological trends and aligning their workforce strategies accordingly.

wage inflation and talent cost

The anticipated increase in talent cost by 61% of respondents necessitates proactive budgeting and financial planning. Companies may need to explore optimised compensation structures and performance-linked incentives to balance employee satisfaction with organisational sustainability.

availability of talent

An improving talent availability, as observed by 47% of respondents, may alleviate some recruitment challenges but necessitates sustained employer branding efforts to attract top talents amidst intensifying competition. The New Zealand employment market in 2024 presents a landscape of both opportunities and challenges. Employers must remain agile, invest in skills development, and adapt to the evolving nature of work. The interplay of these multifaceted elements will be pivotal in shaping the resilience and competitiveness of New Zealand’s employment ecosystem in the forthcoming years.

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