9 May 2024

Job applications soar as public sector layoffs continue, data shows

1:02 pm on 9 May 2024
Job application online.

Data from an international recruitment firm shows a 112 percent increase in applications for jobs it is recruiting for across New Zealand compared to the same time in 2023. Photo: 123rf

Widespread public sector layoffs have seen job applications more than double in March and April this year compared to 2023, a recruitment agency says.

International recruitment firm Robert Walters' data showed a 112 percent increase in applications for jobs it is recruiting for compared to the same time last year - and a 179 percent jump in Auckland.

That was because there were not enough jobs to go around in the capital and people were having to seek work elsewhere, its Wellington senior director Bridget Clark said.

The company's Australian offices had also seen a "substantial surge" in applications from New Zealanders intending to cross the ditch or work remotely.

"If the trend of job cuts persists, we may face a future where there is a severe shortage of skilled workers to fill public sector roles in Wellington," Clark said.

"This is undoubtedly a disconcerting prospect."

Robert Walters could not say how many applications it received in March and April, as it is confidential information.

Have you been affected by public sector job cuts? Email hamish.cardwell@rnz.co.nz

RNZ understands proposed job cuts at ACC and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency will be announced on Thursday.

More than 4000 jobs have been slashed so far across the public sector.

Finance Minister Nicola Willis directed ministries and agencies to reduce expenditure by either 6.5 percent or 7.5 percent to help reduce annual public service spending by $1.5 billion.

But cuts are also being made beyond the core public sector, at Crown entities such as WorkSafe and Callaghan Innovation, and Crown research institute NIWA, for example.

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