Rebuilding in Christchurch has boosted national hiring expectations to their highest level since late 2008, with just over a third of companies intending to take on new workers during the final three months of this year, according to research.
Recruitment firm Hudson's latest employment trends report says 33.7 per cent of employers plan to increase their staff numbers between the start of October and the end of December, an increase of 3.2 percentage points on the current quarter.
The report said the overall increase was driven largely by the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Canterbury, where civil engineers, surveyors, estimators and project and contract managers were in high demand.
Almost 53 per cent of South Island companies are planning to take on new staff during the final quarter of this year, compared with 26.8 per cent in the upper North Island and 33.5 per cent in the lower North Island, according to the research, which surveyed 1035 employers about their hiring intentions.
Hudson New Zealand executive general manager Roman Rogers said the Canterbury rebuild was ramping up as activity shifted from planning and design into delivery mode.
But there was also underlying confidence nationally among employers as the household consumption and manufacturing outlook improved, Rogers said.
"Employers who have missed out on opportunities due to limited resources in lean times are now more confident and want to have the right capability to pursue future opportunities and growth plans."
The recruitment outlook was strongest for professionals in the information, communications and technology (ICT) sector, with 39.4 per cent of employers in that industry intending to employ new staff.
New Zealand medical software company Orion Health said last week that it planned to take on 150 new staff in Auckland and Christchurch over the next three months as it continues global growth.
Financial services had the second strongest recruitment outlook after ICT, with 31 per cent of employers intending to increase staff, followed by human resources (26.8 per cent), office support (22.8 per cent) and accounting and finance (19.7 per cent), according to Hudson.
The report said 57 per cent of employers intended to keep staff levels steady in the final three months of the year.