Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you all. It’s always an interesting time of year, longing for a return to the long and lazy days of summer holidays, whilst hitting the ground running and ramping up for a new year with energy and optimism. We are now all back on deck at Sourced, having enjoyed a well-earned break and launched into what’s looking to be a busy 2019.

In this quarterly update, we look back at 2018, bringing you a view of the year that was, and a sneak peak of what is to come. You may have also seen the latest Sourced Report, which we hope you’ve enjoyed (the 2019 survey is underway and closing soon!). If you’re looking for any specific market intelligence, salary surveys, role positioning or similar information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 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, 2018 was a mixed bag – a market driven by both contract and permanent requirements – however, on the whole, it is best described as ‘business as usual’. Whilst permanent recruitment continued at a 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 higher across 2018 than seen in previous years. From a retention perspective, we have seen the highest numbers in recent years within the Canterbury tech sector. We saw this as a natural cycle, given that 2016-2017 showed record high levels of staff retention, with very little movement, and most recruitment being achieved through sourcing candidates new to New Zealand or returning home.

We don’t feel there is a great deal to be alarmed by. Candidates that have moved off into new roles/new companies have been carefully considering their options, 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 strong internal culture.

Secondary to candidates moving roles within the Canterbury tech sector, we have also seen an above-average number of candidates who have been affected by restructuring and redundancies. However, 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, though there was a slight lift in demand in the final quarter of 2018. Projects took longer than expected to gain traction, or were temporarily shelved whilst budgets and business requirements are 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 & Programme Management space. This has been reflective of the project lifecycle, with many projects being scoped but not necessarily taken through to delivery.

As mentioned above, we have been working with a mix of local job seekers and candidates returning home to Christchurch, and have 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.

We expect the majority of restructures to be behind us, and are looking forward to a year of growth opportunities for many.

Within Sourced Walls

It was lovely to see out 2018 as a team, but we did have to say a sad farewell to our candidate resourcer, Emma, who was offered a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity at the UN in Vienna. Very hard to beat that! We are really excited for Emma and look forward to keeping up-to-date with how she goes. We are otherwise business as usual internally, and are enjoying a busy return to the new year with a number of new contract and permanent roles already underway.

Who’s in Demand

In terms of candidates in demand, 2018 was very much a broad market. In the permanent space, recruitment was very much 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, for the first time in years, a very high number of Management/CIO roles coming to market, and quite a bit of shuffling is happening in this space. This was always coming, with a significant number of candidates in this space looking at new opportunities, but with no scope to move. The emergence of a couple of new roles coming to market has triggered a ‘merry go round’ effect, with CIOs moving from one local post to another. As a result, this year will likely see many new CIOs find their feet and start driving new improvement initiatives.

On the contracting side, 2018 was very heavily geared towards Business Analysis and Software Development (in far smaller numbers). Requirements were driven by projects needing scoping, 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 2019.

General Round Up

For employers, 2018 was certainly the year of BAU and steady as she goes. There was, however, a much lower level of staff retention than in recent years, so a significant amount of recruitment was driven by replacing departing team members. In general, project work has been low, and a number of key projects still lie in the wings, ready to go at some point in the first half of 2019.

From a permanent perspective, we are seeing the first signs of a return to growth as we move into 2019, but this may be tempered by a resource shortage given the movement of candidates that occurred across 2018. We expect to be driving hard within our international talent pools, expat kiwis, and, in a new 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 candidate’s wish lists, with salaries still remaining static.

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

In Case You Missed It

Over the last quarter, we’ve written several blogs. You can find them below:

The ‘F Word’: Understanding Flexibility at Work

Today’s candidates often talk about flexibility playing a critical part in their job search. With this idea featuring heavily in our latest Sourced Report, we take a look at what exactly candidates are looking for in an employer, and why being flexible with your ‘must-haves’ can be beneficial in the long-term.

Three Mistakes to Avoid at Your Next Interview

Although you may have landed the interview, it’s not too late for simple mistakes to derail your efforts. We see them time and time again but with a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to avoid falling into the same trap. Read more, here.

How to Choose Between Two Great IT Candidates

Whilst having two equally promising candidates on the table is a fortunate position to be in, choosing the right person for the role can be challenging. Here are three methods to help you make the best decision for your business.

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