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UPDATED: Job listings paint a muddled employment picture

Data from Seek and TradeMe Jobs send conflicting messages about the job market.

Data from Seek and TradeMe Jobs are sending conflicting messages about the job market.

What would an extra $250 in your bank account every month mean to you?

That's what the average pay rise in 2011 amounted to, according to Seek.

Salaries grew by 5 percent (an increase of more than $3,000) to $73,530 per annum across jobs advertised on seek.co.nz last year.

“A 5 percent increase in salary adds up to an additional $250 in the average Kiwi pay packet every month. I’m sure that makes a significant difference in many households," said Seek NZ general manager Janet Faulding.

Further signs of an improving job market were seen in a reported 10 percent rise in job ads.

In Auckland, the average salary rose by $5,000 from January to November, an increase of more than 6 percent, closing out the year with an average annual salary of $75,533. In Wellington the average salary package increased by $2,825 to reach $78,952.

Both the West Coast and Taranaki boasted annual salaries above the national average, with mining and energy jobs being among the most lucrative in the country. These roles also experienced the biggest salary boost in 2011, growing by 17.7 percent in the eleven months to November to an average of $118,629.

The second-fastest growing classification was advertising, arts and media, enjoying a 15.7 percent increase across the year, now with an average annual salary of $70,429.

After mining, resources and energy, the top earning industries were consulting and strategy ($89,121), information and communication technology ($88,066), engineering ($86,259) and construction ($86,052).

But TradeMe, the other giant of classified job ads, said the market was shifting down a gear, with pay packets flat and rising a measly 0.4 percent on the same time last year. 

"With competition amongst job hunters on the rise, it’s starting to look like an employer’s market again," said head of TradeMe Jobs, Pete Ashby.

Advertised job vacancies across New Zealand are up 21 percent on a year ago but growth is slowing, according to an analysis of more than 38,000 jobs listed on TradeMe Jobs in the December quarter.

“We’d hoped the employment market would improve after the Rugby World Cup and the November election but the reverse has happened, with advertised jobs up only 7 percent in December.”

Ashby said the signs of a slowdown aligned with the Westpac McDermott Miller’s research out earlier this week, which found employee confidence in the job market had fallen to a two-year low in the December quarter.

“There’s certainly anxiety in the public sector after the November election and broad uncertainty surrounding the ongoing turmoil in the European financial markets,” he said. “These two factors have combined with a post-Rugby World Cup hangover to dent job market confidence.”

Specialist government and council roles led the way in terms of growth in the December quarter, with listings in this sector up 47 percent on a year ago, driven by Auckland super city recruitment.

Demand for highly skilled civil and structural engineers remained “insatiable”, with listings up 39 percent on the same period a year ago. Accounting, trade, construction and retail also saw significant growth in listings compared to a year ago.

And the South Island is “going gangbusters” according to Ashby. Canterbury and Southland were the standouts, each with 61 percent growth in job listings compared to a year ago, followed by Otago with 40 percent.

Canterbury’s growth continued to be strongly connected to the rebuilding efforts in Christchurch, with the roles driving growth including builders, surveyors, project managers and engineers. The number of healthcare roles listed in Canterbury also soared with demand for caregivers and community & social services workers driving growth of more than 100 percent.