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What Will 2021 Bring For The Job Market?

Hello 2021.  It’s us!  It’s great to be back at work and it is brilliant to no longer be in 2020!!   

While we tried to relax and not think about work over the break – we found we were asked one question most often:  What is the job market like?

So let’s give you some insight into what we’ve been seeing and more importantly what we’re expecting (guessing!) in the next while:

  • Employers were busy hiring leading up to the break.  Yep, that’s right – for the roles that we cover (accounting, finance, sales, marketing, HR, business support, IT, data analytics and digital) – it was extremely active.  It seemed most organisations were keen to get roles filled before xmas so they could go and relax over the break.  There were a lot of vacancies because many organisations have realised they need different skills and capabilities, or they’ve signed off on some big projects, or they’ve realised that they need to change direction in order to thrive in the next while.  Whatever the reason – the market was busy and strong and pockets of talent were extremely sought after.
  • The job pipeline is still very strong.  Sometimes – we see activity prior to xmas and then the January job pipeline is empty. Not so this year with us returning to a good amount of vacancies in the pipeline – in fact – we had nearly 20 jobs come in on the first day back!  It seems (so far) that employers are motivated to hire and get on with business!
  • Talent shortages exist.  While it’s surprising to say at a BBQ (especially after a few wines), right now it is incredibly tough to find good people for vacancies.  The reality is that 2020 has created an environment where a number of people lost their jobs, but also a number of organisations realised they needed different skills and capabilities on their teams.  While there may be more people looking for new roles – they aren’t necessarily the same people that employers are seeking. 
  • Closed borders will create havoc on our talent market.  Unless you have a NZ passport or residency in your hot little hands, it’s very hard to get into our fine (fairly covid free) land right now.  Lucky us, unless we are trying to hire specific talent skills that don’t normally reside here – I’m looking at you tech people!  A number of organisations sent contractors back to their homelands prior to the first lockdown and cannot get them back – so we’re expecting contractor rates to rise as the talent supply dries up (tip for employers:  put your best foot forward, don’t skimp on the rates and expect contractors might walk for better pay offered elsewhere).
  • The best talent for your vacancy is probably in a job right now.  For most of the permanent roles we have recruited recently – the successful candidate has been happily employed in their current role – they aren’t hanging out on job boards waiting for the perfect job vacancy to be posted.  We’re finding real success through our networks and by representing roles that might be of interest to potential talent. We’ve been able to fill vacancies with speed and a less time-consuming process than ever before.  If you’re hiring right now – use an agency that has passive candidates and specialist networks.  Now is not the time to rely on posting job ads if you want top talent.
  • Your story is paramount.  Whether you’re looking for a job or looking for your next team member, you’ll need to tell your 2020 story (and beyond): 
    • If you’re looking for a job:
      • How did 2020 affect you?
      • What did you do about it?
      • How did you cope?
    • If you’re looking to hire:
      • How was your business affected?
      • How did you treat your team?
      • What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
      • What are the learnings?
      • What happens if there is another lockdown?

While 2020 was a shocker – it was also an opportunity to learn and develop.  The people and organisations in demand right now are the ones who didn’t necessarily get everything right, but they’ve been able to learn from the experience and are better for it.

If 2021 is your year for a new job or some new talent to help you kick some goals then start off well and get in touch to get the process started.  Drop me a line at and I’ll point you in the right direction!

All the very best for a brilliant 2021 – after 2020, it will be a breeze!!

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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