Hiring expectations have dipped slightly as employers remain cautious about taking on new staff despite a rosy outlook for the economy in 2014.
Recruitment firm Hudson's latest employment trends report found that nearly two-thirds of the more than 1000 employers surveyed nationwide said they planned to keep staffing levels steady this quarter.
"The employment market remains tight, so employers' ability to find the people and skill sets they need, and take advantage of the more confident economic conditions, will be critical to getting ahead in the next 12 months," said Hudson executive general manager Roman Rogers.
Hiring intentions in the South Island remain the strongest across the regions, with almost half of employers intending to increase numbers, which is largely being driven by demand for all forms of labour in Canterbury.
Strong manufacturing activity in Auckland is driving positive hiring intentions in the upper North Island.
Nationwide, the construction, property and engineering sector remains the industry with the highest positive hiring intentions at 58 per cent, followed by information technology at 47.9 per cent and manufacturing with 43.6 per cent planning hire more staff.
Candidates in demand include project managers, estimators, quantity surveyors, contracts managers and individuals with civil engineering skills across a broad range of disciplines, according to the Hudson report.
"Throughout the IT sector, many organisations are approaching the time where investment in upgrades or new platforms is a requirement rather than an option, and there is a growing focus on digital," Rogers said.
IT candidates in demand include project managers, business analysts, developers and testers.
"Favourable economic conditions have employers well positioned to pursue expansion plans in the year 2014," Rogers said.
"The organisations with the right skills and people in place will be well placed to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the current environment."