Think again employers, the world has changed


New Zealand is donkey-deep in a talent shortage and we’re scrambling for employees. But guess what….so is the rest of the globe and they are now searching for talent in our backyards. Border changes and the increased cost of living in New Zealand are making offshore opportunities even more attractive to skilled people. Unemployment is at its lowest and immigration changes are creating challenges for employers.

According to the latest research by Hays, 91% of employers across New Zealand and Australia are experiencing a skills shortage (*4425 organisations surveyed). The insufficient supply of local skilled professionals hinders growth and operations for 83% of those businesses. With all this information and data now at our fingertips, a new equation in the world of work needs to be defined. We can’t keep operating like it’s 2015.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Hays also tells us that 77% of employers surveyed are optimistic and predict a strong 12 months ahead. BUT…. those same employers also predict widening skills shortages. The open borders are unlikely to solve the shortage with 45% of respondents saying it won’t solve the problem and with 65% of employees considering change, workforce movement is high and will continue to accelerate.

So, what do we know?

1. Salaries are expected to rise. Skills shortages have forced high salaries and employee expectations are rising. The flow on effect is that employees know their worth and are confident to ask for a pay rise. 

2. Upskilling can ease talent gaps. The world of work is changing and to keep up, employers need to offer formal and informal learning opportunities on the job. This in turn can bridge talent shortages and build internal capability. If you don’t offer development opportunities, someone else will.

3. Employees are VIP customers – the employee experience needs close attention and personalisation to attract the best candidates (and to retain your stars!). Hays tells us that 35% of employers have introduced benefits to attract staff. If you’re not – someone else will be. Flexible working continues to evolve – many employees wanting a hybrid of some form. People want to be part of a purpose. Millennials in particular keep purpose of their organisation at the forefront.

4. Mental Health still needs attention – three years into the pandemic, the long term toll on employee’s mental health and wellbeing is becoming noticeably clear. We can’t keep pretending it doesn’t exist. Nearly one third of employees surveyed by Hays said they struggle to switch off outside of work hours. The right to disconnect has been legislated in France, Ireland, Canada, Spain and other countries and as mental health continues to skyrocket, it’s only a matter of time before it hits the southern hemisphere.

Given the workplace has changed dramatically in three years, what might the next three years bring us? Time to re-think employers! 


About Author

Senga Allen

Human Resource Specialist and Managing Director, Everest People. Waikato and BOP people and culture specialists. www.everestpeople.co.nz