Small but mighty is the mantra for our small business sector.

New Zealand small businesses (less than 20 employees) represent about 97 percent of businesses in this country and produce nearly one-third of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2017, total employment by New Zealand’s small businesses accounted for 30 percent of the working population making them a key driver of job growth.  

So, as a vital part of our economy, it’s hugely valuable to gain a deeper understanding of small business needs and behaviours.

Xero Small Business Insights provides real-time metrics around the health and conditions of small businesses in New Zealand. The metrics are based on anonymised, aggregated data from hundreds of thousands of small businesses that use our accounting platform in New Zealand.

As part of the insight we have looked into the hiring behaviour of the small businesses we service.  The results show that, if you are looking for a job in New Zealand, October and February seem to be the best months for hiring in the small business sector.

For the period March 2017 - March 2018, there was an overall 1.3 percent increase in the number of New Zealand small business employees. The highest growth months in terms of hiring were October 2017 (2.4%) and February 2018 (2.8%), reflecting the highly cyclical nature of many of our industries.

The figures give a sense that Small Business hiring behaviour reflects the high impact of seasonal work. Conversely, the worst months to look for a job over the past year were April 2017 (-0.9%), June (-1.1%), September (-0.5%) and January 2018 (-3.3%).  

The data shows that the education and training sectors had the biggest dip in January 2018 (-15.17%) followed by real estate and associated property services (- 6.62%). This is consistent with Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures which show that annually there are fewer house sales in December and January.

Overall, New Zealand businesses’ hiring behaviour reflects a strong market. But small businesses continue to have considerable challenges: we are living in a world of global commerce and major local chains challenging markets that small businesses have typically been strongest in.

This article was prepared by Xero using Xero Small Business Insights data, for the purpose of informing and developing policies to promote small business in New Zealand. It contains general information only and should not be taken as taxation, financial, investment or legal advice. Xero recommends that readers always obtain specific and detailed professional advice about any business decisions.

Download the Xero Small Business Insights summary here

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