Returning Kiwis are hot property for employers

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New Zealanders returning home from overseas are becoming increasingly attractive to employers. The combination of overseas experience with local knowledge is seen as winning equation for HR. How can you nab a returning ex-pat?

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report, while Kiwi employers have been receiving a high volume of overseas applications from skilled and experienced candidates, their first preference is for local talent.

New Zealand employers have a tendency to resist overseas applications and remain very specific in their requirements, which typically include candidates with local experience, said Jason Walker from Hays. “As a result, those Kiwis who are returning home from overseas are viewed very highly since they possess both New Zealand experience as well as valuable international skills.”

Overseas returnees are also more attractive to employers because they are viewed as more stable and more likely to stay in the country, Walker said. “Hiring managers value highly that these candidates have more life experience and have gained some commercial experience from working for a company offshore. It means that you’ve got a bit of get up and go, are investigative and have experienced what life has to offer, and you’ve got that out of your system and can really focus on the career at hand.”

However, a recent report also found that a record number of Kiwis are flocking to Australia. Reassuringly, this wasn’t the case across all sectors, and some have even started to see a reversal of recent trends, Walker said. “Many of those who left in recent years to go work in the Australian market are now returning to local jobs.”

In order to overcome any resulting skills shortages – and nab the best returnees – employers must become more flexible, he said. Considering candidates without the exact years of experience required, candidates with transferable skills and experienced candidates from overseas would be a good start.

In addition, the following recommendations were revealed:

  • Respond quickly in terms of obtaining feedback from hiring managers;
  • Arranging interviews within a short timeframe; and
  • Respond to candidates with appropriate, competitive offers.


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