NZ employers facing 'talent-short market'

By Ben Chapman-Smith

The Christchurch city rebuild will likely draw white collar professionals away from other parts of the country. Photo / Thinkstock
The Christchurch city rebuild will likely draw white collar professionals away from other parts of the country. Photo / Thinkstock

Almost half of New Zealand employers are concerned about a lack of talented professionals in the country, according to a recruitment company survey.

Of 419 bosses surveyed in the 2012/13 Michael Page International Salary & Employment Forecast, 49 per cent expected a skills shortage in their sector over the next year and 50 per cent predicted staff turnover.

New Zealand is "a talent-short market" and employers would be fighting hard to retain their staff in the coming 12 months, said Pete Macauley, Michael Page International regional director for New Zealand.

"While there has been a sense of optimism and increased confidence surrounding the New Zealand business market earlier in the year, the current sentiment is that the services sector has started to move into a flat feel rather than a growth feel, and manufacturing activity has contracted.

"We continually see a demand for talented professionals across all sectors, making talent attraction hugely important for employers."

Macauley said hiring top talent would become even tougher in the next year, for two reasons.

"Many employers are implementing strong internal retention strategies to hold on to their best people and this creates a challenge for other organisations looking to source talented staff.

"Meanwhile, as the Christchurch city rebuild accelerates next year there will be even more pressure on the recruitment market as demand for white collar professionals in Christchurch, in particular within the Property and Construction area, increases."

That migration towards Christchurch would most likely put pressure on the Auckland recruitment market, Macauley said.

Hiring managers would need to take a good look at their strategies for attracting talent to make sure their job propositions were competitive, he said.

According to the survey findings, 41 per cent of respondents said they would be emphasising their strong company culture to encourage professionals to join their organisation and remain in their roles.

Part of that meant employers needed to recognise and reward staff, both financially and non-financially, Macauley said.

Employers were planning to offer a range of incentives, including a mobile phone (89 per cent), company car (69 per cent), or healthcare and insurance benefits (63 per cent).

Competitive pay remained a key talent attraction tool, with 48 per cent of employers surveyed likely to offer bonuses as a fixed percentage on base salary.

Just over half said they would likely offer salary increases of two to three per cent for professionals with skills in highest demand.

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