November 24, 2022

Insights from the Latest Auckland Job Market Report

8 min read

As New Zealand’s biggest tech sector, Auckland is an essential benchmark by which we can judge the state of our job market. Hosting thousands of domestic and international companies, with a strong presence of enterprise and agency businesses, there is a continual demand for talented tech staff.

New Zealand has previously been able to rely on a mix of homegrown and overseas talent to fill roles, but there’s always been an outpacing of demand vs. supply. With the events of the past few years that saw closed borders, we lost a significant portion of candidates, forcing employers to be even more competitive to secure the available talent.

The borders reopening in 2022 has allowed overseas tech professionals to live and work in New Zealand again, but the arrival of these candidates could be faster. It has yet to make a significant impact on the skills shortage. Additionally, the borders reopening has seen more Kiwi tech professionals leave New Zealand to explore the world again and hone their craft offshore.

Absolute IT, as a leader in the tech recruitment space, is dedicated to understanding the motivators of tech professionals and employers alike. This insight helps us support both parties in getting the right jobs and hiring the right people. Our latest regional report focused on Auckland, and we’d like to share some valuable insights from that report below. 

Our respondents for the Auckland report

The tech professionals we surveyed in our report were from a range of experience levels, with the biggest group represented by those with over 16 years in the industry. Other large groups in our sample included 23.5% with 5-10 years and 22% with 10-15 years – and a combined 18% with under five years.  

These tech professionals comprise 67% permanent employees, 31% contractors and 2% fixed-term. In addition, 63% had less than a year in the role, and 23% had between 1-3 years in the role, a reflection of both the movement of experienced tech professionals around different roles and the nature of contractors’ tenures on projects.   

The other half of our report focused on tech employers. As expected, our respondents were mostly made up of the private sector (82%), with 17% from the public sector and 1% from not-for-profit organisations. This split differs from other regions, like Wellington, which hosts most central government operations. The sizes of our employers were an interesting split, with the biggest representation coming from 11-50 employee businesses and 151+ employee businesses. 

Auckland employers are looking to hire soon

With the turbulence in the market brought by talent shortages and border changes, 67% of employers are planning on recruiting – 52% of which are looking to hire three to five new staff. The main reasons for hiring were increased customer demand (28%), staff replacement (26%) and increased IT demand from the business.

Contractors are still a part of IT employers’ plans 

With many transformation and product led initiatives being implemented, contractors remain core to the Auckland IT workforce, with 35% of respondents planning on recruiting contractors in the next six months. Contractors give employers access to specialist skills, and despite the higher hourly rate compared to permanent staff, the ability to control resource costs within a project budget adds flexibility for organisations. When we asked our tech employers in Auckland why they’re hiring contractors, 61% cited project work as the main reason, 52% skill availability and 35% the ability of a contractor to start quickly and immediately be effective.   

Skills in demand within Auckland’s tech sector 

Tech skills across the board are in short supply in Auckland, which is good news for any job seeker looking for that next step in their career. Whilst the Wellington-based respondents in that region’s report touted business analysts as the most in need, the city of sails considered this the second most demanded skill after software development.  

With the proliferation of technology-based businesses in Auckland, development skills are the most sought after. Other roles closely aligned with tech stack and product development were also represented with testing and quality assurance, DevOps and database skills in hot demand.  

Pay raises and bonuses 

The insights we gained from surveying Auckland’s tech professionals and employers were interesting compared to our recent Wellington report, as the expectation around pay in Auckland was much higher than in the Capital. We believe this is indicative of the heavy private sector as compared to the government-based landscape in Wellington, where bonuses aren’t typical.   

We learnt that 94% of Auckland tech employers gave staff a pay increase, with 52% planning to do so in the upcoming year. This is an interesting discrepancy between retrospective and forward-looking feedback, and we’re keen to see in next year’s Auckland regional report whether that 52% figure holds true. Pressures on employers to retain high-value staff can sway pay increase decisions, especially given the time and financial cost of replacing them.   

Speaking with our tech professionals about bonuses, it’s clear that standard remuneration or hourly rates are where earning potential really lies, with only a quarter of respondents reporting they’d received a bonus. Of the 75% who didn’t, 29% aren’t in roles that are eligible for such compensation.   

Back to our finding about 52% of employers planning to give pay raises – what do tech professionals expect? Our report findings indicate that expectations are almost perfectly in step with employers, with 51% expecting a pay raise – although it should be noted that our respondents in both groups don’t necessarily come from the same organisations.   

The other ~49% of respondents were either unsure if they should expect a pay rise (37%) or didn’t believe they would be getting one (11%). 

How happy are Auckland tech professionals? 

Happiness is critical to job satisfaction, and while it can’t necessarily keep talent with an organisation on its own, it’s an essential foundation. So we asked Auckland tech professionals if they were happy with their current workplace. An overwhelming 92% said they were – an excellent insight to take away from our report and a testament to the IT sector.   

The top reasons tech professionals gave for rating their workplaces as good environments to work in included ‘Workplace culture’ (38%), ‘Interesting and satisfying work’ (23%) and ‘management style’ (~13%). 

So why are employers struggling to keep staff? Although tech professionals are happy with their current workplace, almost half of all respondents are considering moving to a new workplace (although 55% of these people aren’t ‘actively’ looking). 

Our respondents indicated that career development opportunities are a big motivator for considering a move, as are the natural conclusion of contract jobs. Understandably better income/salary was also referenced – which in this highly competitive market is to be expected. This better income motivator was considered the top influencing factor for accepting a job offer (as opposed to considering looking around), so employers need to consider their remuneration against the market carefully.

Flexible working arrangements 

We’re in an era where remote working isn’t a novelty but par for the course. The tech sector lends itself to remote or hybrid working arrangements, especially with the migration of many systems to the cloud. Tech professionals surveyed in our report named remote working as the top non-financial benefit they’d appreciate from an employer, and we don’t expect this to change any time soon. And with 81% telling us they’d been offered flexible or remote working options, it’s clear employers are keeping up with the wants of their workforce.   

The days of long hours at the office bookended by arduous commutes are becoming the exception and not the rule as they once were. We’ve been forced to consider our work habits when we had to work from home out of necessity – and opened our eyes to the benefits of a more sensible work-life balance. In our Auckland report, we learned that 44% of professionals believe their work-life balance to be ‘above average’, with 47% considering it ‘average’. Only 8% had a negative assessment of their balance or ‘below average’. We’re encouraged by these results, but we hope the sector will grow the above average percentage.

More opportunities for talent development through internships? 

As long-standing supporters of employers bringing in fresh talent through internships and graduate programmes, we wanted to understand how much Auckland’s tech sector makes use of such initiatives. Only 15% of Auckland’s tech professional community said they’d been employed as an intern or through a grad programme.

The respondents who’d been through this employment method (made up of highly experienced individuals and more junior professionals) indicated a very positive impression of this experience, with 84% considering this extremely or very valuable and the remaining 16% as somewhat valuable.

We think this is a big (and missed) opportunity for many tech employers. In an era where talent is thin, and demands are high, organisations need to think creatively about how they acquire and nurture talent. For example, going out to market is required for senior roles in many cases, but internal promotion over a period of years is an underutilised strategy. Connecting the bridge between education and career through internships and graduate programmes can broaden your recruitment strategy and allow employers to shape raw talent into the ideal role for their business. 

Learn more about Auckland and New Zealand’s IT industry 

If you’re interested in reading more about our tech sector, head over to the Absolute IT blog where you can find insights about a range of topics, including skills in demand, pay and evolving technologies.

Explore our available IT roles today 

Are you looking for a new IT role, perhaps one in which you can enjoy a flexible working arrangement? Check out our latest jobs to potentially find your next big career move.

Absolute IT