Staff Shortages - The New Pandemic

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With the COVID-19 pandemic slowly ending, New Zealand is facing a new pandemic – a shortage of workers. Due to low unemployment and many kiwis moving overseas, multiple industries are having difficulty finding workers.

High amount of job advertisements vs small number of applicants

The number of job advertisements in the market was 36% greater in March 2022 than it was back in March 2019. However, there are not enough people locally available to fill all these positions. The combination of a dwindling number of applicants with a higher number of vacancies creates a void that needs filling – a void that can be filled by hiring internationally. In effect, the country must rely on bringing in new migrant workforces to help bail us out of this labour shortage.

The need for workers on ground

Our agriculture, hospitality, and healthcare industries have relied on immigrant workers for many years and are some of the backbone sectors that simply need boots on the ground. While some companies have managed to shift their operations online, and now get by with hybrid accessibility, a lot of businesses need people on site and cannot afford the luxury of outsourcing or acting remotely. Hotels, restaurants, farms, and retirement villages are indicative of this and are operating in a deficit as they are struggling to fill the gaps. As a result, businesses are turning away clients and customers because they are running at limited capacity. In the past, students and backpackers would have worked part-time jobs and contributed to the workforce. Today, they are yet to arrive. The labour supply is at a stagnant low, while labour demand is rapidly increasing.

 

It is true that the closure of the borders and the changes to immigration policies have put a strain on employers and employees. However, we need to acknowledge the contributions made by immigrant workers to the New Zealand economy and communities in the past. And today businesses should turn their focus toward bringing in new immigrant workers, as they will give us the boost needed to keep the New Zealand economy afloat.

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