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With COVID-19 impacting Otago and Queenstown's economy, the Regional Business Partner Network and Otago Chamber of Commerce needs to understand the effects on business and how they can best support you. Please complete this survey and also send on to any other businesses who may be impacted. The Survey is really short [no more than a minute] and finishes on Tuesday March 17 th  Please click here to complete the COVID-19 business impact survey. Meanwhile, if you want to read about support that is currently available click here .   Or if you would like to attend one of two sessions we are currently offering for employers in Dunedin , click here .   Your feedback to this survey will greatly assist us with planning further support!
Firstly, a very big thank you to the 430 local businesses that took the time to fill in the Employer survey. While the world has completely flipped since you gave us your feedback, the information has already proved critical in planning discussions with council and between the Chamber of Commerce and Immigration New Zealand.   Key Findings Three quarters of businesses had experienced skills shortages in their business in the last six months Only 5% of employers found that it was getting easier to find and retain staff, meaning 95% weren’t, with most employers changing their remunerations packages and benefits to reflect this situation. In ability to acquire and retain staff is impacting how business are operating and their future plans. For the region it was clear that many businesses are unable to scale and grow and a number are struggling to operate effectively within their current operation. Contrary to many beliefs, nearly all businesses would employ more New Zealanders in their companies if they could find suitable skilled candidates. Unsurprisingly cost of living, housing and remuneration were key reasons why there aren’t more kiwis being attracted to the region. There is a large and growing disconnect between how in-tune INZ and business in the region is. With the departure a number of years ago of local offices it’s felt INZ has become removed and less aware of the employment challenges facing the region. Conversely local business openly admits they are not aware, equipped or ready for changes in visa regulations later in the year.   Where to from here.  The knowledge gained from the survey is critical in understanding the impact recruitment is having on the local economy and assisting with planning, lobbying and taking action to assist. Currently the focus has moved from finding staff to retaining staff and the COVID-19 impact is changing the landscape. The plan is to regularly update the survey to build an ongoing profile of employment trend across the region.
The Aspiring Conversations weekend in Wanaka is fast approaching and the Queenstown Media Group is proud to be a media sponsor. Three international experts on the impact of climate challenges and sustainability for the business community have been announced and will join the line-up of 11 speakers for the Aspiring Conversations Festival of Ideas in the first weekend in April.   For more click here .
Feedback from the JobFix Employer survey indicated that the majority of positions available advertising runs for a minimum of two weeks and generally three. As a result QMG has introduced multi-week discounts for advertising placed in the Lakes Weekly Bulletin for the same situation vacant advertisement across multiple weeks.   Advertised for two consecutive weeks with the same advert now attracts a 10% discount and for three weeks a 15% discount is automatically applied to those booking. This applied from 1 st March.   We recognise that businesses are increasingly looking for efficiency in purchase decision making and a multiweek discount will assist. If you would like more information drop us a line at jobs@qmg.co.nz
With significant uncertainty unfolding in the business environment across ALL areas of Queenstown, JobFix looks at the first two months of the year and also an early insight into March JobFix vacancy numbers. The market has pivoted from looking for staff to hiring freezes and redundancies amidst a ballooning economic downturn that the majority of businesses are dealing with.   Summary The number of Job openings in January and February were both up on last year as the first impacts hit in the form of weather and then early coronavirus reports. Initially this looked like a short sharp jolt and while local job vacancies slowed they were consistent with prior year, but the last three weeks has seen a major change as the realization that Queenstown is in for a rough time in the near term. January job openings was up 5% on December and significantly up on 2019. February saw the recruitment breaks start to be applied and the first two weeks of March the pull back in Job openings is intensifying with market contraction at around 18%. The annual trend in the index is now at negative 5% and we are expecting this to continue until clarity returns for local business.   Historically Feb-April forms the shoulder season in the jobs market but this year iT's likely that these months will form the low periods of the year as companies stop recruiting altogether.  With winter and hopefully a great snow season, business confidence will pick up again but until then we expect to see a slowing in the volume of job ads until at least the start of the winter.  
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