Employment trends in Australia and New Zealand 2024

Employment trends in Australia and New Zealand 2024

Posted February 25, 2024

Are you looking to hire in 2024? Here’s all you need to know to navigate the complex employment landscape across Australia and New Zealand. Our recruitment experts share their insights and predictions to equip you with the knowledge you need to get ahead.

2024 recruitment trends

1. The scales of power are tipping

Is it an employer’s market or a jobseeker’s market? Well, it depends. Across ANZ, the tech hiring market is slowing down due to an economic downturn, which is seeing a number of companies cut costs and tighten their budgets – a stark contrast to the fast-paced, candidate-driven market of 2021-22. As a result, recruitment is slowing down across certain job families – especially Project Services – resulting in more candidates in the market than jobs on offer. Talent Sydney recruitment expert, Shane Hodgins notes “Where there has been a slowdown in the market is in the project services space – many companies are putting their projects on hold as budgets for IT projects are being cut. Generalist IT project managers are most affected by this.” In this space, we’re therefore seeing the scales of power start to tip in favour of the employer.

This doesn’t mean hiring managers hold all the cards though. For in-demand skillsets, such as cybersecurity, data, and artificial intelligence, candidates remain firmly in the driver’s seat as companies increasingly recognise the importance of securing their systems, leveraging data, and adopting AI. With more choice available for these jobseekers, Talent Sydney Managing Director, Matthew Munson, notes that while “we have seen the cooling of salaries across many job families, hard to find niche talent will always test the top end of what the market has to offer.”

2. In-demand roles are demanding dollars

With the market shifting in 2024, remuneration is also experiencing movement. According to Talent NZ Country Manager, Kara Smith, “cost of living and inflation increasing will continue well into 2024 and beyond. Candidates are seeking higher salaries to compensate for this, yet organisations are driving cost-conscious decisions.” Resultantly, many job families are seeing a slowdown in salary growth. In the domain of Project Services, salaries and contract rates have dipped by as much as 15-25% due to many companies placing their projects on pause in a bid to cut costs. However, this isn’t the case across all job families and positions.

The roles commanding the highest pay? Those in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Cloud Solutions. Our Talent More Than Money Salary Guide 2024, highlights that Cybersecurity salaries have increased 25-35% since 2023 and Data Analytics 12-23%. When it comes to contract work, Cybersecurity rates are up 15-30%, Data Analytics 18-25%, and Cloud Solutions 10-25%. Talent Sydney recruitment expert, Shane Hodgins, comments on this trend “cybersecurity professionals are still in high demand. Hands-on technical roles such as penetration testers and security engineers, are highly sought after, and we’re seeing more roles in the market than candidates available. Resultantly, salaries have remained high at post-COVID levels for these candidates.”

3. Sourcing beyond borders is on the rise

In 2024, many companies are looking beyond national borders for candidates to fill their vacancies, particularly in tech and transformation. In Australia, our Talent recruitment experts note that large companies have increased their offshoring by an estimated 10-40%. Talent Sydney Managing Director, Matthew Munson, comments “a conservative estimate would say about 30,000 Australian companies offshore technical skills. It has accelerated over the last 12 months and the signs are that it will continue, because local salaries are very high, there is a skills shortage, and this move to remote work is making it a lot more appealing to hire people offshore.” In New Zealand, Talent Wellington recruitment expert, Georgia Hynes, also comments on the impact of remote work in enabling the sourcing of candidates from beyond national borders, “many organisations from the US and Australia are still dipping into the NZ candidate market for remote working, particularly in the developer space”.

4. Unemployment is up

In late 2023, both Australia and New Zealand’s unemployment rates increased to 3.9%, up from 3.8% and 3.6% respectively. With an uncertain economy, company layoffs, and growing cost of living pressures, there are more candidates on the market than before, seeing a stabilisation of salaries and contract rates in comparison to the candidate-driven market of previous years. Talent Wellington recruitment expert, Katie Kemp, observes that “COVID and the shortage of talent in the market saw people look to negotiate or secure higher salaries, however there is a level of market correction coming into play now, combined with organisations looking at their expenditure and relativities more closely”. Is this a trend that’s likely to continue? Our recruitment experts predict that…

5. The market will recover

It’s not all doom and gloom in the employment space. In fact, it’s anticipated that things will start to pick up when it comes to hiring. According to LinkedIn data, while the LinkedIn Hiring Rate in Australia decreased by 7.2% from January-June 2023, as of December 2023, it increased by 1.7%. Talent Melbourne Managing Director, Simon Yeung, predicts that over 2024, hiring will be on the up. “Looking ahead, the IT job market is anticipated to experience growth, fueled by the adoption of advanced technologies like AI, cybersecurity, and blockchain by Australian tech firms. The demand for skilled professionals in cloud computing, data science, and software development is poised to rise as businesses prioritise digital transformation.” In New Zealand, Talent NZ Country Manager, Kara Smith, also observes a shift in the market “As we enter 2024 the market is feeling more optimistic than the last few months of 2023”. She cautions “just like we saw post-COVID, businesses can only halt projects, investments, initiatives for so long. In a world where cybersecurity is a top priority, investing in tech teams is a worthwhile long-term strategy.”

Need a hand navigating this hiring landscape?

We can help. At Talent, we’ve been working with top candidates in tech, transformation and beyond, since the birth of Javascript. For over 25 years, we’ve placed thousands of professionals across almost every sector to the world’s leading companies. Let us help you get ahead in the recruitment market and connect you with a world of leading tech and transformation experts to boost your teams. Get in touch today.