• 5.5




Key drivers

Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries (10.0)

The wage premium for high-skilled industries remains well above the historical average in New Zealand.

Talent Mismatch (5.8)

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Vacancy Index increased by 6.4% last year. This growth was partly stimulated by faster growth in high-skill vacancies.

Labour Market Participation (5.6)

The rate at which the participation rate is increasing is forecast to slow in New Zealand. This will reduce the growth in the pool of skilled labour.


Education Flexibility


Labour Market Participation


Labour Market Flexibility


Talent Mismatch


Overall Wage Pressure


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Occupation


View from the Ground

New Zealand’s unshakable skill shortage underpins many of the challenges facing organisations today. The economy is at near full employment, yet employers tell us they intend to add to their headcount. Naturally then, demand exceeds supply for highly skilled professionals and in high-skill industries. In fact, the gap between the skills employers need and those available has reached its highest level in the history of this Index. Add several years of wage stagnation, and it’s understandable that top talent now prioritises a pay rise. However, employers are not succumbing to this pressure, instead keeping salary increases firmly in check. As a result, turnover is rising as employees recognise that their skills attract a higher salary when changing jobs.

Adam Shapley, Managing Director, Hays New Zealand

Key Skills in Demand

  • Software Development
  • Civil Engineers
  • Construction Managers
  • Salespeople
  • Building Tradespeople

Market Insight

New Zealand’s economy grew by 2.7% in 2018, slightly below its average growth of 3.2% in the previous five years. Growth in the manufacturing sector – New Zealand’s third-largest – slowed from 2.7% in 2017 to 1.4% in 2018.

Positive net inward migration boosted New Zealand’s labour force in 2018, increasing the economy’s productive potential. New Zealand had 145,800 permanent and long-term migrant arrivals in 2018 and 97,500 departures. The annual net inward permanent migration figure of 48,300 was lower than the 2017 figure of 52,700. Going forward, the tighter visa requirements that were introduced in late 2017 will impact future migration levels and could impact business’ access to skilled labour.