NZ employers 'feeling more positive about hiring overall': report

Results 'significant shift' from last year amid 'acute' labour shortages

NZ employers 'feeling more positive about hiring overall': report

Finding employees is now easier in New Zealand with employers becoming more optimistic about hiring in 2024, according to a business survey from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

The NZIER's Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion, which polled around 4,300 firms, revealed that employers now find it easier to search for skilled and unskilled labour.

According to the survey, there was a decline in the number of firms that cited finding labour as their primary constraint in the December quarter.

"This result presents a significant shift from a year ago when shortages for both types of labour were very acute," the NZIER said in a media release.

The institute attributed the development to the reopening of international borders, which also allowed employers to bring in workers from overseas.

Optimistic in hiring

Meanwhile, the report also found that most sectors are "feeling more positive about hiring overall." The manufacturing sector, however, was an exception to this.

The optimistic outlook comes amid improved business confidence during the last quarter of 2023.

According to the survey, only a net 10% of employers are still expecting economic conditions to get worse in over the coming months. This is much lower than the net 49% recorded in the third quarter of 2023, and the net 79% registered in the year prior.

"This significant improvement in business confidence is amidst increased demand, with a net six per cent of firms reporting an increase in their own trading activity in the December 2023 quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis," the NZIER said.

By sector, the retail and building sectors reported strong optimism about the general economic conditions in the coming months, with a net 44% of retailers agreeing with this sentiment.

On the other hand, the manufacturing and services sectors are still "feeling downbeat," according to the NZIER.

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