For BusinessNZ CEO Phil O'Reilly, New Zealand's economic prospects are looking positive - but a sustained shortage of top-tier talent is jeopardising our chances of long-term prosperity.

"We really need to up our game as business leaders about the way in which we think about global talent - attracting it, retaining it and then utilising it when it knocks on our door," he said.

"What we are finding is increasingly the case is that talent is borderless.

"We are finding that if you want really good company leaders, if you want those key people inside business - and I'm not talking about people here who do good work, but there are lots of them - I'm thinking about the world-class CFO, the ICT visionary -- they're global people."


O'Reilly says that more work needs to be done to ensure New Zealand is providing a world-class business environment, with the career advancement opportunities and pay-grade top-tier talent expects.

"We can't just rely on the idea that New Zealand is clean and green, a long way away and a pleasant place to live," he said. "That's not enough to attract them.

"We need to offer world-class careers and a world class income -- too often we try to get away with paying less because we're a nice place to live -- but a lot of other places have those same advantages.

"We need to focus that we're at the top of our game when it comes to attracting top talent and not just rely on the snow-covered mountains and babbling brooks to pull us through.

"If we're going to get truly sophisticated on the global stage, we need some truly sophisticated global business people coming to New Zealand more often to assist, lead and play their part in taking us to the next level."

One source which New Zealand businesses are failing to effectively capitalise on is expat Kiwis returning home. O'Reilly says that for many, their lack of recent experience in the domestic business environment can actually be a positive.

"Far too many New Zealand businesses have 'not invented here' syndrome where they overlook people without New Zealand business experience.

"We need to make sure that we have really smart global business people running smart global businesses from here in New Zealand."