How to overcome looming skills shortages?

Jane Frog, director, Frog Recruitment:
Skill shortages are very real challenge for New Zealand. Unless business invests in training, they will not go away. This is where medium and long-term business planning needs to kick in over short-term thinking. There needs to be focus on skill optimisation and reducing skill gaps.

Current skill shortages are reported to be high in ICT, health, engineering, customer services and trades. As result these industries all report they are experiencing loss of business, increased workloads which brings with it morale and staff turnover issues, decrease in the quality of work and increased operational costs. So the question for management is: “If you are not addressing skill shortages right now, how do you plan to grow your business and deliver to your customers?”

Marc Burrage, executive general manager, Hudson NZ:
We only have two choices – attract new talent or grow our own. We need to do both as New Zealand has limited and finite human capital resources available and we continue to lose people offshore. New Zealand needs to be marketed as place where, because our market and companies are relatively small, we can offer breadth of experience and unique access to markets, opportunities and exposure that would not be possible as quickly, or at all, in larger countries.

We are ideally suited to hungry up and comers wanting this broad experience even if some may perceive New Zealand as stepping stone. We need to be realistic about how long we can keep individual talent in New Zealand and accept that they have valuable contribution to make but may well move on at some point. There will always be those who come for lifestyle and they are likely to stay. However, we need to give more thought to those who are career minded. We have real opportunity to position NZ as place where you come to forge your reputation. We are highly networked country with real opportunity for overseas executives to carve out niche. Executives can move through organisations quicker and enhance their reputation.

Tony Wai, managing director, Crackerjacks:
Skills shortages are an issue in New Zealand but it’s more of ‘talent-shortage’ that the everyday manager battles. While it may not be too difficult to find people whose CVs tick the boxes, finding stars is difficult.

Having strong online presence is important to attract talented professionals. careers landing page on your website is must – along with clear description of the culture of your working environment and the types of professionals you hire. Finding the people who will fit into your culture is just as important (if not more) as finding people with the right industry experience/skill set.

Christien Winter, director, Sheffield:
There are and will continue to be serious skills shortages. As business continues to change in light of global changes, the leadership skills required are also changing. Increasingly, New Zealand leaders need to have experience of and skills in global market; innovation and change leadership are also now critical for organisational impact and success. Given New Zealand’s small size and scale, we also simply have less opportunities in our small market for top talent.

Significant change projects, like the creation of the Auckland Council, and growth-oriented businesses in health, bioscience and agritech, will continue to have some appeal in terms of career development opportunities. At societal level, we need to ensure that New Zealand continues to be seen as great place to live, but we also need to continue to build leadership and profile internationally in economic sectors to attract talent to New Zealand.

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