2022 Labour Market Trends

Posted by | December 16, 2021 | Employers, Market updates, Recruiting tips, Retention

2022 Labour Market Trends featured image

By Rhiannon Robinson

Back at the start of December, Do Good Jobs founder Julia empowered our community to plan the ‘unplannable’ 2022 with her Plan For Impact course. I’ve been tasked with predicting the unpredictable by putting together a guide to 2022’s forecasted labour market trends for our Do Good Employers. 


The Great Resignation – it’s already here!

Most of us have heard of the ‘Great Resignation’ by now – the mass career shakeup that has taken hold in the USA and Europe in the pandemic driven re-calibration of our social contract with work. It’s arrived in New Zealand just in time to shake up 2022.

Ceridian’s November 2021 report on the Asia Pacific Region indicates that just over half (54%) of the workforce is either thinking about looking for a new role in the near future, or already actively job hunting. If that isn’t enough to strike fear into the heart of managers and HR teams, an even larger percentage of 18 to 34-year-olds are looking to move on from their current role – at 67%. That’s potentially two-thirds of your Gen Z and Millennial talent!

In October, the Atlantic noted that the global ‘Great Resignation’ is accelerating – “The Great Resignation? It just keeps getting greater.” Economic expert Derek Thompson frames the Great Resignation as “an expression of optimism” that indicates both resilience in the pandemic world economy, and the ripping up of the social contract that leads us to stay in jobs that make us unhappy just for economic gain.

There’s little doubt that the Great Resignation has hit New Zealand just in time for 2022. But are Kiwis in jobs that make them so unhappy? Not necessarily, according to a report by Auckland University of Technology. Their [email protected] iterative survey indicates that New Zealand’s workforce is generally satisfied with their work lives, but crucially Kiwi “perceptions around job opportunities have changed.” Over 66% of survey respondents believed they have solid job opportunities. AUT’s Professor Haar warned that employers should be “alarmed” by these findings. Kiwis aren’t being driven by career malaise but rather by opportunities and ‘offers’ from competing organisations which brings us on to:


Salary Inflation will continue to increase – and candidates have the upper hand in negotiations 

At this point, you might think to yourself – ah, but people aren’t motivated by money in the ‘do good’ sector. Historically, that may be true, but New Zealand’s annual inflation rate increased to 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021, its highest rate in a decade. The effects of the rampant cost of living are driving Kiwis to negotiate the highest salary they can when job hunting. This is understandable, as despite wage inflation rising three-quarters of workers are getting pay rises that don’t keep up with inflation and the cost of living. If employees are finding that they have less and less money left over at the end of the month, they might be tempted to see what they’re worth out there on the market. And with competition for candidate’s high, they’re likely to get snapped up at a higher salary.

Beyond Recruitment’s CEO summed up the situation:

“Many employers are now very aware that they need to keep the people they have. What we are finding is that a candidate may have multiple offers and then the counter offer comes in from their current employer. This is driving the salary market up in a continuous cycle.”

Seek’s report on pay increases by role found that in general “all jobs that have seen a rise in salary, paired with significantly more job ads yet not enough people applying. This means not only is there considerably less competition for these jobs, they’re also offering job seekers a higher salary than they were before COVID.” To give an example of this, job ads for social workers grew by 99% in volume in 2021, with their average salary rising to $72,451.

In October 2021, we collected data on the salaries for all full and part-time roles listed on Do Good Jobs and found that the average salary was $72,700 during this time. We’ll keep monitoring this so we can keep you up to date with info that’s specific to the ‘do-good’ sector. This is just one of the benefits of us taking the #showthesalary pledge and making salary transparency mandatory on Do Good Jobs.

Now is a good time to consider your capacity to offer salary increases to your team. Hay’s NZ Salary Guide for FY21/22 found that only 31% of employees were happy with their current salary. 58% of those who weren’t happy said their salary didn’t reflect their individual performance, and 38% believed their salary wasn’t in line with external salaries for the same role.


Trends within trends


Countries already deep into The Great Resignation, such as the USA, are seeing ‘Boomeranging’ as a side effect. Boomeranging refers to a former employee who returns to a company after some time away, usually in a more senior role. Employees who left a company to drive their progression may now be the perfect fit for senior roles vacated in The Great Resignation. Boomeranging can be a win-win, with employees returning to an environment they enjoyed and employers investing in a known entity. It’s too early to tell if this trend will take hold in NZ, but it will certainly be attractive to many hiring managers. Time for a LinkedIn DM with old staff maybe?

Employees as advocates and critics 

The Great Resignation has partly been brought into being by workers fed up with low pay and poor working conditions. In the UK and the US, posts about quitting toxic work situations are trending on social media. No one is too big or too cool to be called out, evidenced by this viral quitting video from a Product Manager at Tik Tok and an entire SubReddit dedicated to quitting in the US. There are signs that a conversation about toxic work culture is overdue in NZ too.

On the flip side of this, organisations with great cultures and employee experience are using their employees as advocates. This can be as simple as encouraging a culture of LinkedIn posting to celebrate the wins, or as big as implementing and staffing an entire employee advocacy programme

In the war for talent, your organisation’s good (or bad) reviews are going to be the first thing a top talent candidate looks at, so it might be time to scroll through Glass Door and your employee’s LinkedIn posts!

Options across the ditch and further afield

With the borders set to open back up in 2022, employers are starting to worry about the pull of higher salaries being offered across the ditch. Economists are warning of a new brain drain as Aussie employers eye Kiwi workers in skill shortage areas such as nursing. On top of this, booking.com’s latest survey suggests that Kiwis are starting to plan travel again – could delayed O.E’s and working holidays be on the cards in 2022?

If there’s one prediction that is guaranteed to come true, it’s that 2022’s job market will be a rollercoaster. HR professionals and recruiters will be busier than ever, and looking after existing staff will be crucial.

There are some upsides to the predicted Great Resignation for do-good employers, in fact, it could represent a huge recruitment opportunity. As we talk about on our blog, the JBWere 2021 Cause Report found that:

“The Covid pandemic seems to have accelerated the movement toward purpose and to more meaningful ways to work. In these times, more people appear to be reassessing their values, more aggressively protecting their time and considering how they can better align their work to a cause that they are passionate about.”

So don’t lose hope, get in touch and we’ll help you find those values-led goodies.

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