Contracting - Market Update 2021

Like many others, the recruitment industry was hit hard over the past 12 months and returning to work after the Christmas break for me was refreshing! Boy I needed that break and thank goodness I did, as I haven’t been this busy in January throughout my 12+ years in recruitment. 



For me, our industry has always been a great indicator of business confidence in New Zealand and Employment NZ are reporting the same:

"A lot of businesses were forced to make deep cuts when we entered lockdown, by the time the last quarter of 2020 rolled around, the economy was in much better shape and rehiring for these roles likely accounts for some of the stability we saw last quarter."

We are not just seeing growth within the contingent workforce but also in the permanent space.  Over the last quarter of 2020 provincial New Zealand also experienced growth with job listings increasing year-on-year in 12 of the country's regions. However, some of New Zealand's main cities saw decreases in job listings, including Auckland (-15%) and Wellington (-3%).

There have been areas that have been hit harder than others but contracting is not one of them.  Some large sectors in Auckland saw significant drops according to Employment NZ, including customer service (-48%), office and administration (-46%), and marketing, media & communications (-42%).

So what does this mean for employers?

  • With borders closed we don’t have access to international talent with many of the niche skills we need, so start planning projects early and lock in your subject matter experts ASAP.
  • Maintain relationships with your recruitment partners and try to give as much pre-warning as possible so we can focus on redeployment of our top contractors and ensure you are accessing the best talent.
  • Keep the process short, chances are if you are really interested in offering a contractor an opportunity, they will be made several offers.
  • Employer brand is more important than ever with contractors in high demand, think about why your opportunity is so appealing and share those stories.

For candidates:

  • One of the drivers to become a contractor is having a higher earning potential, make sure you are thinking ahead when it comes to financial planning, things are looking up but we just don’t know what the next 12-18 months will look like.
  • It is important to maintain your professional networks and keep in touch with your recruiters, contract roles are moving so quickly we don’t always have time to advertise all available roles and often will reach out directly to candidates in our networks.
  • Be flexible when considering opportunities and broaden your scope within different industries as this will only add weight to your CV.
  • Look after your mental and physical health and look out for your colleagues and peers, you just don’t know how the last 12 months have impacted their lives.


  • Key growth areas are likely to be within construction, education and training, Government and health and safety.
  • We are likely to see more investment in tech and automation, embrace it.
  • The contingent workforce will continue to grow with some economists predicting that by 2030, 40% of New Zealand’s workforce could be made up of contingent workers
I’d love to hear some of your predictions, please reach out anytime on 0211471825 or


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