More than a one-third of Kiwi employers are relying on talent from overseas to fill key vacancies as they grapple with skills shortages.

The findings are contained in ManPower Group New Zealand's Borderless Workforce research released this week.

Foreign talent was seen as most important by employers seeking to fill vacancies in areas including engineering, manual trade and for those recruiting technicians, ManPower said.

Other key findings from the survey were:


*43 per cent of employers were concerned about the impact of employees leaving New Zealand might have on the labour market.

*68 per cent of employers said the government and business had not done enough to slow the outward migration of talent and attract workers back to New Zealand.

*Visa and legal requirements pose the biggest obstacle to employers who look offshore to solve skill shortages.

*Employers say Australia (39 per cent) and the United Kingdom (16 per cent) pose the biggest threat to New Zealand's ability to compete economically.

ManPowerGroup New Zealand and Australia managing director Lincoln Crawley said employees needed to take a sophisticated approach to managing their talent supply and demand challenges, in order to win the escalating war for talent.

"This means including a talent mobility strategy in their overall plan to combat skills shortages," he said.

"Kiwi employers have grave concerns about losing valuable, talent workers to overseas opportunities.

"And the problem is, the skills gaps in New Zealand are very similar to the rest of the world - engineers and skilled tradespeople are in demand everywhere," said Crawley.


To remain competitive employers needed to "fight fire with fire", creating a global talent strategy of their own to attract foreign workers and fill their skills gaps, he said.