Business & Admin Support - Market Update 2021

Feeling a bit like it’s too good to be true? Me too... 

While the rest of the globe continues to navigate COVID-19, last quarter saw us sail into the lighter nights and warmer climes on the up. Yes, business support had been hit hard so it was not going to take much to see improvement. Do not get me wrong, I’m not talking ‘hay day’ up but December 23 rolled around and we did not have the luxury of sitting back and relaxing and reflecting, as we still had jobs to fill and candidates to find and it felt good!  


While SEEK state both professional and consumer Services (of which most business support roles sit) still have the furthest to recover, SEEK’s Quarterly Employment Report data shows job ads were up by 19 percent nationally quarter-on-quarter - only a mere seven percent lower compared to the same period in 2019.  Auckland alone is seeing a 24 percent increase on job adverts posted across all sectors.  


According to Statistics NZ, the number of filled jobs rose in all 16 regions between September and October 2020 with the largest changes being in Auckland (up 1.1 percent, 8104 jobs), Wellington (up 1.13 percent, 3329 jobs) and Canterbury (up 1.2 percent, 3301 jobs).  


Take from it what you will, but I will keep this update concise. Mostly because I am still slammed and I am writing this at home with a drink in hand the night before it needs to be completed but also because while things are looking up, everything and everyone has changed and we cannot ignore that.   


Busier market = busier recruiters 

We try to keep in touch with our candidates as best we can but it is a two-way street. Temp roles are moving quickly and clients are reaching out to us because they have pressing needs.  Candidates: read and respond to your texts, check your voicemail and email regularly. You snooze, you lose.   

Employers: let us set the pace. If we are trying to move faster or slower, we do have your best interests at heart. We are shortlisting quickly to secure the right talent where we can.  


There is still talent out there, lots of it 

However, it is getting harder to find it and with the borders remaining closed we just do not have access to the same volume of talent as we used to. Summer historically would bring an influx of travellers heading to NZ on working holiday visas. These people came with experience and skills relevant and suitable for temporary business support vacancies.  


Temporary work 

Temping is okay, especially given what the market has endured over the last 12 months. If you are lucky it may also lead you to a permanent opportunity. Give it a go, at the very least you may widen your professional network and learn some new skills along the way!  


Lots of people have had a stressful 12 months... 

When things get a bit uncertain it is very easy to lose sight of the positive. The impact of uncertainty and change can manifest itself in many ways and those previously motivated and engaged employees may be behaving differently. This in turn can have an impact on your culture and at worst a knock-on effect on attracting the new talent you need.   


How do you manage this?  

Recognise it and recognise your people in whatever way you can.  We are all in new territory here and it has not been an easy ride.  A genuine well done not only makes someone feel valued but makes them feel seen. Continue to look after your mental and physical health and continue to look out for your colleagues and peers. Never stop listening.   


I trust the above gives you some food for thought and supports you in navigating hiring or being hired for this quarter. For now, I am hoping the cycle of ‘lockdown, freedom, repeat’ is not on the horizon again.


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