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.
- 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.