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Sourced Quarterly Market Update – Welcome to 2020!

9 Jan 20 by Michelle Bishop

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Sourced Quarterly Market Update – Welcome to 2020!

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you all. January is always a time of adjustment as we come back from the lazy days of summer holidays, whilst ramping up quickly for the demands of the new year. Having enjoyed a well-earned break and launching into what's already a busy 2020, it’s now all hands on deck at Sourced. We had plenty of clients approaching us with recruitment requirements for the new year in mid to late December, so we have well and truly hit the ground running.

In this quarterly update, we’ll look back at 2019 to bring you an overview of the year’s key themes, as well as provide a sneak peek of what is to come in 2020. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you're looking for any information on salary surveys, role positioning, specific market intelligence or similar. We're in a unique position to watch the market as it evolves, and are always happy to share these insights.

General Comments

From a client point of view, 2019 was a mixed bag; stability and careful consideration in hiring were the two key themes, with very little staff turnover and muted growth levels. It was generally 'business as usual', with little appetite for shaking the apple tree. It was a market-driven by both contract and permanent requirements – albeit, very widespread and in generally smaller numbers.

Few clients recruited in volume. We saw many clients going through rightsizing exercises, reviewing and reorganising team structures, without necessarily pursuing redundancies. Most were keen to ensure they had the right energy going into the right outcomes, and the right people assigned to the right areas. Whilst permanent recruitment continued at a slightly lower but constant pace across most areas of IT, there was a definite focus on growth in highly specific/targeted areas, and otherwise recruiting for attrition, which was a lot lower in 2019 than in the previous year.

From a retention perspective, we have seen the highest numbers in recent years within the Canterbury tech sector. Most recruitment has been achieved through sourcing candidates new to New Zealand or returning home, and in fewer cases, placing candidates with new clients who have been affected by redundancy.

As in the previous two years, candidates that have moved off into new roles/new companies have been carefully considering their options. They are feeling ready for a new challenge and are still seeking stability, interesting project challenges, work/life balance and growth opportunities. With a market that has offered little in the way of significant growth or exceptional projects, more care has been taken by candidates to fully evaluate potential employers, and salaries have not been a driving factor.

From an employer point of view, there has been a continued focus on developing and retaining tighter, more collaborative teams by promoting a strong internal culture.

As mentioned above, we have seen a smaller number of candidates who have been affected by restructuring and redundancies. Few have struggled to be redeployed, and most are now enjoying interesting and challenging work with their new employers.

From a contract perspective, it was a quieter-than-average year, with a slight lift in demand in the final quarter of 2019. Projects took longer than expected to gain traction or were temporarily shelved whilst budgets and business requirements were reassessed. The primary requirements we have seen in the market have revolved strongly around Business Analysis and Software Development, with very little in the Project and Programme Management space. This is a continuation of the same theme we see mirrored in 2018.

As mentioned above, we have been working with a mix of local job seekers and candidates returning home to Christchurch. In doing so, we’ve noted a below-average level of recruitment in the 'new to New Zealand' market. Certainly, there is still a strong interest in living and working in Christchurch for the international community, but that desire has not always been met by a willingness to employ by the local market, especially considering the availability of local employee talent.

All in all, we expect the majority of restructures to be behind us, and we look forward to a year of growth opportunities for many.

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Within Sourced Walls

It was lovely to see out 2019 as a team, notably one of the most engaged teams we've seen within Sourced walls. As many will know, getting just the right balance in the team can be hard, and we really feel like we've achieved that. We continue to enjoy an office environment that is fun, high-energy, motivated, but mostly just really engaged. We're not corporate; we’re a family business, and we really have developed that culture internally.

Who's in Demand

In terms of candidates in demand, 2019 was very much a broad market. In the permanent space, recruitment was largely geared towards the Software Development/Applications side, with a below-average demand for Project and Programme Managers and a continued but measured demand for Developers, Business Analysts and Testers. Infrastructure roles were quieter than usual and tended to sit at the Systems/Infrastructure Administrator level, with very little movement in the Management/Team Leader space.

We have observed a very low number of Management/CIO roles coming to market; however, this was to be expected given the amount of movement and roles emerging in 2018.

On the contracting side, 2019 was again very heavily geared towards Business Analysis and Software Development (in far smaller numbers). Requirements were driven by projects needing scoping, as well as additional resources needed to get work across the line and to cover periods of absence. It has not been what would be described as a 'contractor's market,' and we watch with interest to see how this evolves in 2020, given that this is a theme we have seen right through 2018.

General Round-Up

For employers, 2019 was again a year of BAU and steady as she goes. There was a much higher level of staff retention than in 2018 and in general, project work has been low, so as a result, recruitment has been carefully considered and very targeted.

From a permanent perspective, we are already seeing a return to growth as we move into 2020, but this may be tempered by a resource shortage given the reluctance of candidates to move at this time. We expect to be driving hard within our international talent pools, expat Kiwis and, in a continued trend, North Island residents chasing the lifestyle opportunities available in Canterbury.

Work/life balance, learning opportunities, growth and development, and a positive work environment continue to sit at the top of candidates’ wish lists, with salaries still remaining static.

We look forward to keeping you abreast with how the year evolves!

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