The number of skilled vacancies advertised online in New Zealand has risen to its highest level in nearly six years, as the Canterbury rebuild increased demand for skilled construction workers and engineers.

The skilled vacancies index increased rose 1.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 121.5 in December, the highest level it’s been since April 2008, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Jobs Online report shows.

On an annual basis, skilled vacancies climbed 7.4 per cent in the year to December, with eight out of 10 regions across the country posting an increase in the year.

Canterbury-based skilled vacancies rose 0.3 per cent in the month and 8.3 per cent on an annual basis.  The region has the highest measure of skilled vacancies fuelled in part by demand for construction and engineering workers as Christchurch rebuilds after earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Over the year, Canterbury-based vacancies for construction and engineering rose 16.8 per cent in the year, and since the September 2010 earthquake, has soared 375 per cent.

Skilled vacancies for sales, marketing and advertising led the Canterbury gain, up 20.3 per cent, as the region looks for workers to replace those who left the city after the earthquakes.

Outside of the Canterbury region, skilled vacancies in Auckland edged up 0.8 per cent in December, for a yearly gain of 20.3 per cent.

Bay of Plenty posted the biggest annual gain, up 20.6 per cent, while Wellington posted an annual decline of 4.3 per cent.

Skilled vacancies rose in most industry groups with education and training reporting the biggest increase at 2.6 per cent in the month, for an annual gain of 12.4 per cent.


By Suze Metherell