Kiwi employers in the grip of an acute talent shortage

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While 31% of employers worldwide struggle to fill positions, the global talent shortage is more acute in New Zealand, according to ManpowerGroup New Zealand, where 51% of employers struggle to find staff with the right skills.

This is one of the results of Manpower’s eighth annual talent shortage survey, the participants of which include 650 New Zealand employers.

The survey also revealed that the talent shortage has worsened in three consecutive years: in 2011 it stood at 44% of employers struggling to fill roles, rising to 48% in 2012, and 51% this year. Like last year, the three most difficult positions to fill include: engineers; sales representatives and IT staff.

Lincoln Crawley, managing director of ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand, said that the news may surprise some given the fact that unemployment in New Zealand sits at 6.2%. “However, these results demonstrate that the jobs market is more complex than a headline unemployment rate: many employers simply can’t find the specialist talent they need. It’s what we call the ‘talent mismatch’,” he explained.

The talent shortage is endemic to the modern jobs market, according to Crawley. “No matter how prosperous or perilous the environment, the right talent is always difficult to find,” he said.

Despite acknowledging the detrimental impact of the talent squeeze on their businesses, 17% of New Zealand employers have no plans to identify new ways to address it, according to the survey results.

A Manpower white paper, The Great Talent Shortage Awakening, suggests several strategies:


  • Identify and attract untapped talent
  • Create a culture of talent development
  • Implement a ‘Teachable Fit’ framework to ‘manufacture’ talent aligned with business needs
  • Improve collaboration with education institutions to ensure graduates are ‘work ready’

Related story: Why can’t Kiwi businesses find the talent they need.




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