A recruitment expert is warning New Zealand will be hit further by a skills shortage regardless of the easing of border restrictions.
Robert Walters NZ managing director Shay Peters is anticipating the country will continue to face a deficit of skilled talent next year.
Peters said the recruitment firm's annual Salary Survey results show employees are still very firmly in the driver's seat due to the scarcity of skilled workers, a pre-Covid issue, which has been exacerbated by the ongoing border restrictions.
The survey shows 88 per cent of employers are concerned or very concerned about the skills talent shortage.
Into 2022 when the holiday period is over and when borders operate more freely Peters said there will be a reshuffling of talent which will be great for some sectors and a challenge for others.
"The winning industry will be technology as the overwhelming demand for highly skilled talent is likely to be filled through talent flow from the Asian market.
"However, sectors such as legal, accounting and finance are likely to experience an even heightened skills shortage as the pent-up demand of many Kiwis to build and grow their careers in international markets takes hold."
The news comes with a warning to Kiwi bosses to future proof their business now with staff training and a plan to retain key people in their organisation.
Peters said the likely net loss of skilled talent in New Zealand next year will especially hit with the loss of the 'doers', the intermediate and senior skilled workforce primarily responsible for the core activities of an organisation.
The Salary Survey revealed 77 percent of employers believe the most acute talent shortage will be at the senior/team leader level.
Peters said as borders ease Kiwis who have not been able to do their 'OE' working holiday will leave.
"Businesses need to be progressive and think about how to retain them, and the IP that they possess, in the long term."
The Salary Survey found that 44 per cent of employers hadn't put any initiatives in place to support employee retention.
Peters said retaining talent was just as important as attracting new skilled employees.
Employers should be upskilling existing employees and be looking beyond the traditional framework of roles.
"Apply a skills assessment of your employees, rather than defining them by the parameters of an existing role or function," he said.
He urged employers to offer employee exchanges if possible and longer leave for skilled talent who wanted time off for travel or personal development.
Offering 12-24 month sabbaticals to staff who wanted some overseas experience meant they were more likely to return to New Zealand rather than remain overseas.
He also urged employers to switch things up and attract international talent by employing on a "project-by-project" basis.
"Don't be restrained by a certain engagement model because it's the way you've always done things," he said.