I have been recruiting in the temp and contractor space in Auckland for over 10 years and the challenge to secure high quality, immediately available, talent has never been greater! With job advertisements up by 42% in January this year and applications down by 44%, according to data from a leading job board, stats clearly show the supply and demand curve is out of whack!
There are the obvious impacts to consider: with unemployment the lowest it’s ever been (3.2%) and our borders being mostly closed for over 2 years, we have had little access to the international talent pool- whether it be candidates coming over on their OE, new immigrants or kiwis returning home. This was previously a relied upon source for finding experienced, qualified candidates with the elusive immediate availability. Candidates who were generally happy to jump in and fill gaps whilst establishing themselves in the New Zealand market.
I have also seen a huge number of career-contractors switch to permanent roles since the pandemic began - candidates seeking stability during a significant period of instability. Many contractors who had contracts finish early or struggled to get new contracts after the first long lockdown were understandably more than happy to accept permanent roles on the other side of it. Because the permanent market also lacks active candidates, contractors who may have found it difficult to be considered for permanent roles previously were snapped up quickly.
For contractors who have stayed the course, they have options! With such a candidate scarce market, we need to be able to provide a compelling proposition when presenting contracting opportunities – interesting work, flexible working arrangements, competitive hourly rates.
Where this was once considered a great perk, it is now the norm. Whilst in the Red Traffic light system, many businesses continue to work 100% from home (some have been doing so since the August lockdown) for the rest, they are continuing the trend of a hybrid model. This is high on the priority list and means that the location of the office is less important when not having to commit to the daily commute. Flexible start and finish times are very much the norm as candidates have adjusted their routines to allow for school pick-ups or drop-offs and other external commitments. To get the right candidates into their business, sometimes employers will be open to candidates wanting more work life balance, perhaps 4-day weeks, or 9-day fortnights. Whilst this isn’t always possible, sometimes, particularly when it is an urgent contract need, aspects of the role can be tweaked to accommodate this.
Less boxes ticked
With fewer candidates in the market, the list of boxes needing to be ticked to get a contractor onboard is changing – whilst there are core skills and experiences needed to be able to add value immediately, there is an openness to candidates who have transferrable skills, extensive systems knowledge and most importantly the attitude and aptitude to learn fast. This means, more than ever, contracting continues to be a great way for candidates to add to their skill set in industries they may not have worked in before, or gain experience with a system that isn’t currently in their skill set.
With candidates often having multiple offers, ensuring employers are meeting the market in terms of what rates candidates can demand is very important. Rates are still one of the key drivers for contractor to consider, so employers need to be competitive. Contractors are paid by the hour, they don’t get sick, statutory or holiday pay and we often look to secure candidates who can hit the ground running meaning they are going to be at the top of the pay scale for the role.
The Outlook for 2022
The demand for contractors is continuing at a steady pace. Ever the optimist, I am hopeful that the easing of Covid restrictions and our borders will mean that over the next few months we start to see more candidates heading back to our shores. Potentially more candidates who were holding tight in roles over the last two years, may have the confidence to take the leap and put themselves back into the contracting market.
With that said we will be working in a tight candidate market for some time to come, so my key takeaways here are:
- Employers need to move at pace to secure talent and approach their recruitment processes with a flexible and open mind to meet the market
- Candidates should absolutely back themselves and their ability to find interesting, challenging and rewarding work in this market!
New Zealand is full of great talent, it is just not so easy to find these days!
Get in touch!
For any hiring manager with Accounting and Finance contractor needs, or candidates looking for their next role or wanting to hear more about the market - please don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me an email today! 027 2244 955 or firstname.lastname@example.org