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Gender divide alive and well in NZ job market

By Shannon Williams
Tue 12 Jul 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The gender divide is alive and well in the New Zealand employment market, according to the latest Trade Me Jobs quarterly data, while IT roles continue to dominate the top five highest average pay rate slots.

Analysis of job hunter applications across the 65,000 roles advertised on Trade Me Jobs in April, May and June showed significant gender splits in several sectors, with men dominating applications in the Executive & General Management sector while women are more likely to apply for roles in the Legal sector by two to one.

Trade Me Jobs spokesman Jeremy Wade says he expected to see some difference in sectors and roles that had a traditional male or female dominance, but he was surprised at the imbalance for some job types.

“We looked at all the applications from our members over the past three months and in sectors like engineering and IT, more than 80% of the applications are from men,” says Wade.

“Public sector roles and Banking & Finance were evenly split between male and female applicants while more than 70% of applications for roles in education and office administration are from women.

“This isn’t about playing the blame game, and no one person or industry is at fault here,” adds Wade.

“We’re all responsible for ensuring we have workplace equality and diversity. We need to have this conversation and think about what we’re doing that might be inhibiting people from getting into industries and roles where they can do great work,” he explains.

Wade says diversity of ‘thought and experience’ was an important part of creating a successful business and workplace culture.

“Looking at these numbers we think there are a number of employers missing out on a diverse range of applicants, which in many cases is not a good thing,” he says.

“In our own backyard at Trade Me, we’ve been looking at what we can do to promote IT as a fantastic career path for women - there’s a lot of opportunity and much more to be done,” Wade adds.

Salaries by gender The latest Trade Me Jobs data also highlighted the relationship between gender and salary bands.

According to Wade, the proportion of men applying for roles was higher for every bracket above $40,000, and the proportion of women diminished as pay rates increased.

“Women are much less likely to apply for a high-paying role, and we saw this peak for six-figure salary roles where the proportion of women applying is just 30%,” he explains.

“There’s a close relationship between lower average pay rates and sectors that are typically female-dominated, such as education.”

IT and engineering roles consistently appear in Trade Me Job’s top 10 highest paid roles each quarter while education and office/administration roles were typically lower paid.

“I’d never advocate that any job hunter chases money over enjoyment and satisfaction, but the value placed on particular roles is an important conversation for us to have,” says Wade.

Positive signs for the job market Outside the gender statistics, the second quarter of 2016 saw heartening data for job seekers with a 9.3% increase in job listings on the same period last year, and the average salary up 0.5%.

“Between October last year and March this year we saw hot competition from job hunters, despite healthy listing numbers,” says Wade.

“That pressure has eased slightly over the last three months, with a few exceptions the balance sits firmly in favour of employers still at this stage.”

Salaries strong The average salary for roles listed on Trade Me rose 1.1% this quarter, landing at $61,095. Almost every region saw a lift in average salaries, with only the wider Wellington region (down 2.3% to $67,351) and the Bay of Plenty (down 2% to $53,748) seeing a dip.

Wellington City continues to hold the top spot for average rate of pay at $72,958, more than $1500 higher than Auckland City, the data shows.

IT roles continue to dominate the top five highest average pay rate slots, with IT architects in top spot with an average pay rate of $147,340.

Regional round-up Wade says the much debated ‘halo effect’ around the Auckland property market appeared to be having an impact on job listings.

“Regions around Auckland have seen impressive growth in listings with the Bay of Plenty up 27%, Waikato up 10% and Northland up 21% on a year ago,” he says.

“Some employers are choosing to set up shop in regional areas because of the lower cost of operation. It’s not all about Auckland for them, with improved technology and infrastructure they don’t need to be in Auckland to access that market,” Wade explains.

In the South Island, Canterbury’s listings fell 7% lead by Construction & Roading, Manufacturing and Transport listings dropping – further evidence of the Christchurch rebuild slowing down, while the West Coast (down 14.7%) and Southland (down 8.9%) both fell considerably. Otago was one region bucking the trend though with a 31.1% increase in listings.

In the sectors With the focus on housing and infrastructure around the country the construction and roading sector saw a huge 33.4% lift in listings, while trades and services had an 18.4% jump.

There were significant drops for banking, finance and insurance (down 35.5%) and science and technology (down 30.8%).

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