Bay must hold on to skilled young people

By Brendan Manning

The region's new Chamber of Commerce boss says Hawke's Bay needs to keep its skilled school leavers to ensure it retains the brightest young minds and help fill vacancies for skilled jobs.

Chamber chief executive Gavin Bush said there was a perceived higher end skills shortage in Hawke's Bay. "There is a trend of kids going from high schools to tertiary institutions out of the Bay and then they're not necessarily coming back. There's a problem with us attracting those sorts of people at this time."

Trade Me released its quarterly jobs report last week. Its findings are good news for IT staff and those living in Canterbury, but bad news for baristas, kitchen staff and Aucklanders.

Mr Bush said there had been some "mismatches" where jobs had become available in the but the right staff had not been available to fill them. "There's also people that would like to come back and live in the Bay but the jobs aren't available."

The average salary for a Hawke's Bay job listed on Trade Me last quarter was $51,798.

Head of Trade Me Jobs, Pete Ashby, said underlying confidence was strong. The national job market was robust with advertised vacancies up 12.3 per cent on the same time last year and up 10.1 per cent on the previous quarter. "We've seen the market rebound to double digit growth. The Canterbury rebuilding efforts continue to underpin this growth, but most segments appear in good heart."

Council of Trade Unions policy director Bill Rosenberg said an increase in the number of vacancies advertised online did not necessarily correlate to more jobs. "Employment has been increasing, but unemployment also has been increasing."

Mr Ashby said the Christchurch rebuild had continued to gain momentum. "The broader Canterbury economy is going gangbusters."

But there was cause for concern in Auckland, Mr Ashby said. "The City of Sails has typically been the employment engine room, so to be up only 2.7 per cent is a little disappointing."

Overall, the top three growth sectors compared to last year were construction and architecture - up 94 per cent, healthcare - up 49.9 per cent, and agriculture, fisheries and forestry - up 36.7 per cent.

HR and recruitment listings had dipped 24 per cent, he said.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union will hold an urgent summit this Friday bringing together businesses, unions, economists and political parties to propose practical steps for the Government to stem job losses. It follows a string of high profile redundancy announcements and the "trades drain" to Australia.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said there had been a net increase of 57,000 jobs in the last two years.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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