Welcome to our fourth quarter update and review of 2021 and the year that was. It’s obviously been a really eventful one with various opportunities and challenges and we look forward to filling you in on the details. It’s so lovely to see the summer days returning, and in these final days leading up to Christmas we have been doing our very best to catch up with clients, recently placed candidates and contractors who have all worked so hard this year.

Looking at the year as a whole, we have included in this report what’s trending, who’s in demand, who’s moving and a general view of the market. We hope this is useful as an update to the Sourced report which came out in August, and as always, we encourage you to contact us if you’re looking for any specific market intelligence. We’re in a really unique position to watch the market as it evolves and are always happy to share these insights.


General Comments

This year started with a bang, with a continuation of the post-lockdown recruitment surge that had really ramped up by Q3 of 2020. This surge continued through the year with exceptionally strong demand for permanent and contract resources through Quarter 1-3, and with only a slight dip in Q4. Through Q4 demand has remained strong, however, activity is now starting to slow as we near Christmas. We expect this to pick up again in earnest by late January.

Resourcing has presented a real challenge to meet the demands of our client’s growth, with borders remaining closed and retention holding strong. We are continuing to look further afield to source talent and are seeing a definite increase of candidates relocating into the Canterbury region, particularly from Auckland, chasing lower housing prices and equivalent salaries, and with the market being as buoyant as it is, we are also seeing a smaller trickle of candidates from Otago towards Christchurch chasing better work opportunities.


Contract Market Reigns

Within the Auckland market, more and more work is being driven towards the contract market, as permanent resources continually become more scarce. As a result, salaries continue to rise.

Permanent team members are looking at work-from-home options, and working for organisations in other centres/countries, and the idea of a traditional ‘in-office’ role is becoming less and less appealing. In both Auckland and Canterbury, while candidates may not be actively applying for new positions, they are very aware of the demand levels for their skills and are increasingly marking themselves as ‘open for the right move’.

These candidates will tend to be more selective, more demanding in their salary negotiations and less prepared to move unless there is a significant incentive. With demand as high as it is, this is one we’re watching with interest, particularly as recruitment picks up again in January.


Attraction and Retention

Staff turnover levels are rising, in line with the demands we mention above, and in contrast to earlier in the year, we now see at least a 50/50 split between new roles coming to market and recruiting to replace existing team members.

Where we are recruiting new permanent roles, clients are now taking a much more flexible approach and considering remote working, flexible work arrangements and other incentives to ensure the ability to secure talent. Salaries are starting to lift, and unfortunately, we think this will continue into 2022.

All indications are for continued market disruption in 2022 and we will be working hard on quality, long-term permanent placements, and experienced contract resources to ensure our clients have the very best chance of success in their appointments.


Within Sourced Walls

If you’ve been in touch with us this quarter, you’ll have no doubt chatted with our latest team member Andrea. Andrea has replaced Olivia as our Candidate Manager. Andy comes to us from MYOB and is already settled in and learning the ropes, with Olivia having progressed into a fantastic new role with ARA. Archie, our office Canine continues to entertain the office with his ball-chasing tricks and providing pre-warning of incoming couriers.

Unfortunately, with Level 2 restrictions, we have largely closed the office to walk-in visitors, but have managed to host candidates recently with their own puppies for a work/dog date catch-up.

Who’s in Demand

Demand is high right across the spectrum right now, with roles covering Infrastructure, Development, Test and Professional Services. Contract has matched permanent, with some clients considering filling crucial gaps within teams. While new activity is now ramping down as we approach Christmas, we are expecting a quick return to activity from mid-late January.

In the Professional Services space, we have seen demand across both operational and strategic BA and PM work, with Programme Management and PMO roles beginning to flow through. In the Test space, Test Strategy and Automation appear to be most in demand, for both contracting and permanent appointments. Within Development, demand remains very steady in the .Net space and for JavaScript/PHP/Python skills, both contract and permanent. While earlier in the year, JavaScript/Python was in much less demand, this is now matching or exceeding demand for .Net and now with recent demands in the Java space.


General Round-Up

2021 has really been the year of the candidate. There are opportunities available across most levels, and skill levels and competition is very high among employers. Salaries are on the rise and the availability of resources is low. It will be really interesting to see how this translates in 2022 as more and more employees become aware of their demands and potential worth.

From a permanent perspective, we are seeing an ongoing openness to recruiting when top candidates become available as opposed to waiting for specific roles to be framed up, and then recruiting to cover turnover. While we can’t recruit talent from offshore, we continue to look at regional markets to bring in new talent. We expect to be continuing this drive across Q1 of 2021 with ex-pat Kiwis and North Island residents chasing the lifestyle opportunities available in Canterbury, candidates from further afield considering Auckland-based roles on a fully remote basis, and conversely Auckland candidates looking at roles in other centres with a work from home option.

Work/life balance, learning opportunities, growth and development and a positive work environment are still top on candidates’ wish lists, however, salary is now featuring strongly. We always expected this as salaries remained static across 2019, 2020 and early 2021, and in many ways, this was a long due adjustment.

We will watch with interest as we head into the New Year, but until then, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Hope you take the time to enjoy a relaxing break with family and friends over the festive season!

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