10 Apr 2024

Wellington workforce reeling from public service job cuts

10:21 am on 10 April 2024
The Beehive in the evening in Central Wellington

Recruitment agency The Johnson Group says it is quieter in the capital now than during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

A recruitment agency for public servants says the job market in Wellington is dire with plenty of candidates but no work for them.

Ministries are continuing to roll out their proposals to cut hundreds of staff to save money.

Recruitment agency The Johnson Group, which typically dealt with government roles, said it was quieter in the capital now than during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

General manager Jane Reddiex said public servants were coming to her looking for work but she had nothing for them.

"After a general election, usually we do go fairly quiet, particularly for the change of government. So, we're kind of used to that, but this has been much worse than usual," Reddiex said.

"The situation we've got now is probably a bit dire. There are so few jobs out there at the moment, there's a lot less jobs on the Government Jobs [website] than there is usually, there's a lot less jobs on Seek."

Even hourly and fixed-term contract roles for government departments had vanished, she said.

Her agency had been forced to change tack and start hiring for the private sector and local council.

"We pivoted and all our interest at the moment is in local government, because they've still got some jobs, and, for the first time in years, we're getting in touch with suitable companies in the private sector, but they've been affected as well."

  • Have you been affected by the public sector job cuts and want to tell your story? Contact RNZ reporter Jemima Huston (jemima.huston@rnz.co.nz)

Reddiex said the job cuts meant there was a huge difference in the job opportunities in Auckland and Wellington.

"My colleagues in Auckland are going gangbusters there because Alpha, the parent company, our main specialisation is the health sector. Both on the corporate side and also on the clinical side as well. But we're going crazy up there. We're as busy as we've always been. Clients are busy. Everyone is giving us work.

"But down here in Wellington where we're, you know, government central, it's an entirely different story."

On the government jobs website, there were close to 270 public service roles listed in Wellington, while on Seek there were close to 250 roles, as of Tuesday.

Several ministries, including health, transport, and primary industries, have confirmed their proposed job cuts include roles which are currently vacant.

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