Reversing the downward trend of the previous two quarters, positive hiring intentions rose 4.5 percentage points (pp) to 31.8%, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends released this week.
However, even with strong business confidence there continues to be a lag in New Zealand employers aggressively growing their headcount to capitalise on favourable market conditions.
As a result, more than half of employers (57.8%) expect to keep their staffing levels steady this quarter.
“Despite the strong economic outlook, we’re seeing employers across the board continuing to exercise caution, not wanting to count their chickens before they hatch, when it comes to investing to support their growth ambitions,” says Roman Rogers, Executive General Manager, Hudson New Zealand.
"A strong focus on cost management continues to be a feature among New Zealand employers. That said, we are seeing businesses beginning to invest in their HR and procurement capability, with a stronger focus on putting measures in place to retain key staff.
"This is a positive step as it demonstrates a shift towards employers investing in people for future growth, rather than being solely focused on cost containment which will help drive our economy further forward.
"We expect to see greater moves to attract and secure talent over the next few quarters.”
Nationwide, the ICT sector (46.2%) remains one the industry's with the strongest positive hiring intentions, while overall, contractor hiring expectations are again up this quarter.
According to the report, New Zealand employers continue to cautiously use contract resource in order to determine the mix of skills and expertise they require before committing to permanent roles.
“We’ve found that companies are only prepared to invest in contracting resources that can demonstrate significant return on investment," Rogers adds.
"We’re seeing a surplus of senior-level contractors as companies focus on resourcing mid-level implementation roles which achieve high outputs.”
“As with permanent hiring intentions, contracting in Supply Chain & Procurement and ICT continue to be positive, and demand in the Human Resources profession is particularly on the rise as companies seek to retain key staff."