Careers Expo: Industries need to engage with their future workforce now

Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skills shortage list features more than 50 occupational groups ranging from construction, engineering and finance to health & social Services, ICT and trades.

Labour demand continues to grow, reflecting solid growth in the economy and improved business conditions however, skilled labour is becoming more difficult to find. A net 32% of firms found it more difficult to find skilled labour in the June 2014 quarter than in March 2014 – the lowest this indicator has been since March 2008.

For the first time since 2007 more than half (51%) of the New Zealand employers say skills gaps are posing difficulties in the hiring process.

“While the government is currently assisting Kiwi employers to recruit skilled job seekers in Australia to help fill the immediate skill gaps in the IT, engineering, healthcare, construction and trades sectors it is important that a long-term investment is made to ensure that skills shortages can be met. One effective way of doing so is to ensure our future workforce has the skill-set that will be required to meet industry requirements in years to come.

The Careers Expo provides an ideal platform to engage with young people entering the job market in New Zealand, inform them about the possible career paths available and recruit them into apprenticeships and on the job training programmes to make sure those future skills requirements are met,” states Mark Gillard, Careers Expo Director.

Impact of skill shortages on industry sectors and employers

“A lack of suitably skilled employees available to meet employment requirements can hamper the effectiveness of an organisation in a multitude of ways and on a wider industry level can restrict economic growth.

It is crucial that businesses and industry address both short and long-term skill shortages. Identifying skills requirements, and investing in the training and up-skilling of young New Zealanders entering the workforce will help solve employment issues now and in years to come”, says Gillard.

Over 20% New Zealand employers who reported any concerns about talent shortage in 2013 say the issue is having a high or medium impact on their ability to meet clients’ needs.

Additional negative affects skills gaps have on an organisation:

  • Reduced ability to adequately serve clients – 63%
  • Reduced competitiveness and productivity in general – 41%
  • Lower employee engagement – 31%
  • Higher compensations cost – 26%


How can industries / employers tackle skill shortages

“Large and small employers can make a difference by ensuring they are planning for the future and identifying and communicating jobs skills needed in the next three to 10 years.

They can help themselves address the country’s skills shortages through direct involvement or supporting industry organisations in face-to-face engagement opportunities with future talent. That’s win-win for everyone,” states Gillard.

Over 50% of employers in New Zealand who face a talent shortage at present say that their strategic response involves modified people practices, 27% adopt strategies including talent-sourcing solutions and 9% focus on work models.

Of the people practice strategies implemented 23% provide additional training and development to existing staff and 21% seek to utilise previously untried recruiting practices.

Among the employers who turn to talent sourcing remedies to close skills gaps, 18% indicate they are recruiting from talent pools not previously used such as:

  • Recruiting candidates from outside the country (15%) and candidates from outside the local region – 6%
  • Appointing candidates who don’t currently have the requisite skills but do have potential to learn and grow – 7%,
  • Partner with local educational institutions to create curriculum aligned to the talent need of the business – 4% 

Engaging with the future workforce creates positive labour market outcomes

“The UK’s Employers and Education Taskforce produced a research report, It’s Who you Meet, which looked at the US, European and UK situations. It found where education pathways include employer contacts then positive labour market outcomes can be found.

Not only do young adults who encounter employers in these formative years experience higher level of employment, they also enjoy higher wages, pointing to higher productivity.

Employing graduates, apprentices and trainees is not only commendable, the return is immeasurable,” explains Gillard

The Careers Expo presents the widest range of exhibitors of any careers expo in New Zealand. Comprising employers, tertiary providers, training institutions, industry representatives, government departments and corporates.

The Careers Expo provides organisations the opportunity to connect directly with tomorrow’s workforce and presents employment and career information and guidance to prospective employees.

The Careers Expo is free for all visitors and the 2015 events will take place in Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, from May to June next year. 

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