The Talent Shortage Survey – conducted by HR consultancy firm Manpower Group – shows that 46 per cent of Kiwi employers reported difficulties in filling job vacancies this year. While the figure is actually down from 52 per cent in 2015, it still sits well above the global average of 40 per cent.
Richard Fischer, managing director at the multinational, says New Zealand is moving in the right direction but admits many employers won’t feel it yet.
“While the talent shortage in New Zealand has eased it is still extremely high, with almost half of all employers struggling to fill jobs,” he said. “The latest GDP data revealed that 11 of the 16 GDP industries increased in the June 2016 quarter, which is likely to drive skills shortages at similar levels into next year."
More than 650 employers across the country took part in the comprehensive survey, sharing their own explanations of exactly why recruitment was proving to be so difficult.
At 26 per cent, a lack of available applicants was cited as the top reason for struggling to fill a role, followed by a lack of hard skills at 24 per cent and a lack of experience at 22 per cent.
Interestingly, the study also revealed an emerging trend in recruitment as 80 per cent of employers said they were choosing to train and develop existing employees to fill open positions.
"It’s becoming more and more difficult for employers in New Zealand to find talent with the right skill set at the time they need them,” said Fischer. “Organisations have instead turned to upskilling current staff to fill the skills shortage, looking for candidates with the appropriate ‘soft skills’ and teaching the technical ‘hard skills’ later.
According to Fischer, employers are now accepting that they may not be able to find the perfect fit and are instead looking to find someone who will be quick to learn and naturally adaptable.
"We’re seeing an increased importance on what we call ‘learnability’, which is the desire and aptitude to learn new skills,” he revealed. “This attribute will help individuals become and stay employable throughout their career journey, and materialises a trend we believe will continue over the coming years.”
The survey also found that HR professionals in certain industries are disproportionately affected with those attempting to recruit skilled tradespeople, engineers and sales representatives facing the biggest challenge.
Interestingly, it is the second consecutive year that the category of skilled trades was cited as the most difficult recruitment area.
Unsurprisingly, New Zealand’s construction boom is largely to blame.
"The construction industry is still showing consistently strong demand from large infrastructure projects,” said Fischer. “Population growth has spurred residential construction, particularly in the main centres such as Auckland and Christchurch, resulting in a talent shortage in this industry.”
The following list represents jobs most in demand in 2016 /jobs most in demand in 2015
1. Skilled trades / skilled trades
2. Engineers / technicians
3. Sales Representatives / engineers
4. Management and executives / sales representatives
5. Technicians / IT staff
6. Accounting and finance staff / accounting and finance staff
7. IT staff / management and executives
8. Doctors and other non-nursing health professionals / office support staff
9. Office support staff / doctors and other non-nursing health professionals
10. Sales managers / drivers
New Zealand’s talent shortage may be easing but employers are still considerably worse off than some of their international counterparts, according to one recent survey.