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Queenstown has a lot of workers who are casual. Let’s explore a couple of questions about casual employment.   1. What is casual employment? There is general agreement that a worker is a casual employee if their employer doesn’t make any advance commitment to ongoing employment or the amount or timing of work they will be asked to do. A casual employee is someone who has no set hours or days of work and the employer is under no obligation to provide ongoing work. On the other hand, if the employee is offered work they are under no obligation to accept it. They can choose to work, or not work, or only work in areas of their choosing. A casual employee does not have the same rights and entitlements normally provided to permanent employees:     casual staff are entitled to receive a loading in their wages for  annual leave ; casuals are not entitled to paid annual leave; casual employees have no right to guaranteed hours of work; However, casual staff are entitled to sick leave if they have been employed over 6 months for at least an average of 10 hours a week and no less than 1 hour in every week, or no less than 40 hours in every month during that period. 2. Who is working casually? We know quite a bit about who works casually. Women are more likely to be in casual jobs than men, although the gap is narrowing. More than half of all part-time employees are in casual jobs. Only about 10% of casual staff are full-time employees. Workers on regular daytime shifts are less likely to be in casual jobs than those who work in the evening or at night. Casual employment being concentrated in part-time jobs means it accounts for a larger share of the number of people employed than it does of hours worked. 3. Does the casualization of the workforce mirror Australia? No, despite strong parallels, casual employment is less significant in New Zealand as a proportion of the total workforce and it has failed to show the same pace of growth as in Australia. The reasons are complex but basically, the advantages of casual employment to employers are narrower and less attractive in New Zealand. This is partly because at the bottom of the market all employees can claim access to basic rights and benefits under a statutory 'minimum code’. This also works, in reverse, for employees at the top of the market. Permanent workers in New Zealand have fewer benefits than permanent workers in Australia.
Every day, millions of people use Airbnb worldwide. The online home rental platform is hugely popular in Queenstown and this has had a significant impact on the accommodation market and its popularity has sometimes put it at odds with locals, businesses and the council. In the decade since it was launched, Airbnb has amassed millions of rooms worldwide. On a recent search, there were more than 350 offerings on Airbnb available in Queenstown on any given night. Based on my calculations, the average offering costs $310 per night, giving a nightly potential of in excess of half a million dollars in casual incremental upside income to the landlord and provided massive support to a cottage industry in the process. But it has also created headaches for authorities, residents and especially employers. Not least of which is: While all the properties on Airbnb aren’t coming from the long-term rental pool, the number of long-term rental properties has declined at the same time as demand from workers has increased. This is pushing up rental prices and pushing staff into unsatisfactory and unstable accommodation options. During peak periods, tenants are being displaced while landlords maximise their investment. In order to attract staff, larger employers are also having to consider accommodation options in order to attract staff. The number of nights a property can be rented out before the council increases the rates associated with the residence is in place but it is unclear whether this is having the desired effect. On a positive note, Airbnb has been a significant contributor in opening up some of Queenstown’s neighbourhoods to tourists, which has spread the demand, eased pressure on tourist hot-spots and boosted neighbourhood businesses. This is not always popular with existing residents, who see increased noise, traffic and pressure on limited community resources. Some fear property owners are switching from long-term tenancies to short-term rentals, which can be more lucrative, especially in the winter and summer peaks. The average nightly rate is sometimes what the property would earn from a long-term weekly rate. Some highly sought-after tourism markets such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and even London have put strong restrictions on the number of days per annum that a short-term rental can be let. While 90 days is the norm, some cities are reducing this by half, or are halting holiday rentals in prime tourist areas altogether.   Looking at Airbnb on a global basis, there are more than 5 million listings across 191 countries on the site (according to Airbnb). That may not sound like a lot, but in comparison, there are only around 4.3 million rooms available in the top 5 hotel chains globally. Airbnb is targeting 1 billion annual short-term renters by 2028 - imagine what that could do to the housing shortage, not to mention the impact on hotels (who have followed strict regulations to be able to operate) – rest assured, many landlords will avoid collecting any bed tax. If Airbnb’s target is reached, Queenstown will feel the pressure and at some point, there will surely be a major crackdown locally or nationally to help limit, formalise and legitimise the presence of Airbnb as a permanent fixture. Perhaps even some of the tax funds could go towards solving our problematic lack of accommodation for long-term local workers.
The number of open roles advertised in February declined 8% year-on-year and dropped 4.5% from January. This is the second month in a row where the number of positions advertised was behind the prior year and the first time in over twelve months when declines for two consecutive months have been recorded. While the total number of open roles declined in January by 4.5%, this was better than the previous year where the seasonal decline was over 11%. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the market remains very healthy with a total of 738 positions available in February and a slower decrease than we saw in 2018. Each year, February sees the 'Summer Seasonal Fluctuation' kick in as the holiday season winds down. February numbers show that businesses, especially in the F&B, Accommodation, Tourism, Travel and Retail sectors, are either adjusting to a lower number of candidates being available or doing a much better job this year of retaining employees! All of these categories saw double-digit declines in jobs advertised during February both compared with Feb 2018 and last month .  AirNZ has reported a slow-down in tourism growth, and the local job market may also be reflecting a drop in visitor numbers to Queenstown. The Construction sector led the way in growing the number of jobs advertised with demand for skilled candidates growing by a sizeable 30% from the January period and in-line with last year. Overall there were no major changes in category ranking for job roles, even with the drop in F&B / Accommodation openings as they represented 68% of all roles advertised. Summary Total open roles advertised in February declined 8% on Feb 2018 Tourism-related categories all fell in excess of 10% Both January and February have recorded declines in job numbers for the first time in over 12 months David Gibbs Commercial Operations Manager - Lakes Weekly & JobFix
Building a strong shortlist is a critical step in the recruitment process - it will save you money in the long run and help you to find the best candidate for your vacancy. Here are some simple steps you can take to help you get the process right... So, you've written your job advert, adjusted the job description, and advertised the role across your network ( ...as well as placing an Ad in the Lakes Weekly Bulletin, of course! ); now it’s time to cross your fingers and wait for applications to flood your inbox. At this point, recruitment specialists the world over will tell you that next, you need to create a 'candidate shortlist' that prioritises quality over quantity. The application to shortlist ratio Ideally, you want to have a small enough pool to efficiently manage the recruitment process effectively, but enough candidates to find the right person for the role. The volume of applications you receive may require you to shortlist all of the candidates who satisfy your criteria, especially when it comes to getting people with the right working visas, but you should aim to have no more than six candidates on your shortlist. Next, move on to a quick phone interview, from which no more than three should move to the first-round interview. Keep a couple of others in the wings, just in case. How key are the competencies? Define exactly what you want your candidate to look like and set up a tick box process. The job description must clearly articulate a set of essential and desirable criteria and a minimum level of skill needed to do the job. Use these criteria to measure everyone on your candidate shortlist. 'No go' signs Poorly presented resume No transferable skills Too much job hopping - remember to check why they left their last job The fit Cultural fit is the most critical part of the recruitment process and it would be good for you to include details about your company values in the job description. It doesn’t matter how the candidate sounds on paper - if they don’t align with the behaviours you desire or match your company values, they will not be a great hire and probably won’t stick around for long. Considering what a candidate will bring to the team in terms of diversity, skills or even alternative viewpoints should be considered when you are down the final few. Finally... communication is critical It is very important to manage people's expectations and keep your shortlisted candidates in the loop - you never know when circumstances can change and a call to an alternative candidate will be required. For the unsuccessful few, it will only take a few minutes to keep them informed and let them know how they did. If something unexpected comes up, a call back would be much better received by someone who you've had open contact with. Good luck!
At the end of 2018, local businesses were desperately trying and too often failing to find staff to fill the serious shortage of candidates available in Queenstown.  The New Year has arrived and a sense of calm seems to have prevailed with Job Vacancy numbers in January actually declining. Anecdotally, businesses learnt to cope with fewer employees in the holiday season and realised that a smaller pool of candidates coming into the market requires adaptation. This took many forms, but one outcome has been vacancy numbers have declined, the length of time that roles remain open or available has also decreased and employers are exploring different options to retain and attract candidates from outside the region. The total number of roles advertised in January 2019 fell 18% from the same month last year and 10% from December 2018. The Queenstown numbers in January compare with a similar decline experienced nationally in December. The ANZ Job Vacancy index fell 3% in December and also reflected an extremely tight job market.     Summary The number of vacancies advertised locally fell in January when compared with the same month last year and December This was in line with national trends picked up in the ANZ job survey Most job categories saw a drop in numbers compared to last year However, the Government sector showed significant growth over last year as seasonal opportunities became available    The total number of roles advertised in January declined for the first time since August 2018. The F&B and Accommodation sectors declined 25% with the search for Chefs, in particular, struggling to find suitable candidates. Early signs in February would suggest that demand is coming back to the sector. David Gibbs Commercial Operations Manager - Lakes Weekly & JobFix
The Queenstown Lakes District continues to experience sustained growth causing issues around labour force, skills and accommodation shortages. Since 2016, the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce annually surveys members to understand more about labour and accommodation issues. The results from these surveys are benchmarked and the information gained help shape appropriate workplace strategies for the region. 230 members completed the annual Labour & Accommodation Survey in October 2018. Key findings were around skills shortages and lack of accommodation options with employers suggesting they needed help with building lower cost accommodation (74%) and a better range of accommodation choices for workers (72%). Issues around immigration remain significant with employers requesting an increase to the length of work visas and a reduction in the eligibility restrictions on work visas. You can read a full summary of the survey results here. The Queenstown Chamber of Commerce engaged Human Connections Group to develop an HR Resource Kit to assist local employers to develop a greater understanding of how to create ‘attraction, engagement and retention’ strategies aimed at reducing labour and skills shortages. This is a self-assessment tool to assist those employers who do not have formal HR departments. Employers can use this document to build a picture of their business presently, how they attract talent, where the best talent has come from and what activities they currently undertake to employ, engage and retain talent. You can download a copy of the HR Resource Kit  here. Planning is underway for a series of seminars around retention and attraction of staff as it relates to the HR Resource Kit. The new Employers' Support Programme will be advertised in the New Year.
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