COVID-19 sparks recruitment shift in NZ

The pandemic has accelerated an already emerging trend

COVID-19 sparks recruitment shift in NZ

New Zealand’s decision to implement a strict COVID-19 lockdown led to a stronger workplace recovery, according to new statistics.

Compared to neighbouring Australia, the country experienced more sustained growth in both long and short-term placements following the nationwide lockdown in March.

The statistics highlighted in JobAdder’s 2020 Recruitment Industry Report paint an interesting picture for NZ’s jobs market as it begins to focus on recovery.

The report highlighted that for permanent positions, there was a rush to hire spike in anticipation of the lockdown, with an 86.7% rise in permanent position placements.

What followed was a dramatic decline the other way but by August, hires for permanent position were back to a healthy figure.

The report also shows COVID-19 triggered a greater shift towards contract and temporary hiring in New Zealand, unlike in Australia.

Read more: How has COVID-19 impacted recruitment?

Between April and May, the percentage of contract and temporary placements jumped from 24% to 51% and then up to 61% the following month, showing an emphasis on short-term recruitment.

Speaking to HRD, Michael Osmond, JobAdder’s head of people and culture, said COVID-19 accelerated an already emerging growth of temporary and short-term contracts.

While once the flexibility of temporary work was seen as a benefit to the employee, now employers are also benefiting from a dynamic workforce during such uncertain times.

To harness this shift in recruitment trends, Osmond said HR teams should rethink outdated strategies.

“HR needs to work with their leadership teams to move away from traditional organisational structures and mindsets, towards how they approach their work and their staff in the new world of work,” he said.

“What is the outcome they need and does this option - that looks different to how they traditionally do things - help them get there.”

As the jobs market in NZ returns to pre-pandemic levels, Osmond said employee engagement should be a key focus for HR professionals looking to retain their top talent.

Read more: Recruitment challenges during COVID-19

With an increase in short-term placements comes the risk of talented staff choosing to move away from permanent employment.

“In some industries where it's difficult to align staff to a common inspiring purpose, provide opportunities for progression or compete from a benefits perspective, then employers need to think creatively around retention,” he said.

Across both Australia and New Zealand, job seeker activity appears to be returning to normal levels, signalling growing confidence in the employment market.

Recent articles & video

How to develop executive presence in your leadership team

How to keep your employees safe as they return to work

Future of work: What are we about and where are we going?

Microsoft NZ to launch employment programme to bridge cybersecurity skills gap

Most Read Articles

Formula 1 team celebrates HR’s winning role

'Can you repeat that?': The cost of poor communication in remote work

Auckland company fined $200k after employee severs thumb