The New Zealand workforce has been cornered into a period of rapid change and economic shift.

Every Tuesday, the Herald will bring job seekers and small-business owners tips from the experts on how to prepare and pivot their careers in uncertain times.

Covid-19 has hit some sectors hard with widespread redundancies and closures but others have been on hiring sprees, snatching up laid-off workers, and desperate to hire more.

New Zealand's primary industries have seen a rapid increase in demand for workers - especially in seasonal roles usually filled by backpackers.

Supermarkets have employed a record number of people as a result of Covid-19 - and they are still looking for staff.

Healthcare workers, call centre staff, delivery drivers, commercial cleaners and warehouse staff are in demand and more will be needed as the country prepares to lower to level 3 in a week.


Simon Rooney from Find Recruitment said job seekers should look for both short-term and long-term employment.

Good skills transfer to other industries or roles so being open-minded during your search was important.

"Taking a role on a contract basis below your experience demonstrates that you are down to earth and willing to change," he said.

Since lockdown Foodstuffs had hired 1,500 staff to help meet the customer demand - many of them from House of Travel and Air New Zealand.

The New Zealand owned company was now working with Flight Centre, the Restaurant Association and other tourism and hospitality businesses.

Spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said there was a focus on hiring people who had lost jobs because of the outbreak.

"In times like these, locals helping locals is incredibly important and it's great to see the community pulling together," she said.

Where the 1,500 new workers are:


36% of them have fulfilled grocery roles including replenishment;
25% have taken on checkout roles e.g. checkout operators and assistants;
13% have snapped up online roles e.g. online pickers;
4% are now in bakery and butchery assistant roles
2% are in security positions

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Countdown supermarkets had also been on a hiring spree and were still advertising for 1000 staff.

"With New Zealanders staying home for the lockdown, visits to our website have increased 300 percent," General Manager Digital, Sally Copland said.

Homebased childcare provider Edubase was an essential service provider under level 4 and spokesperson Stacey Dunn was expecting an increased demand under level 3.

They were looking for home educators in the Auckland and Christchurch area and were expected significant growth in level 3.

"We are able to operate in a tight bubble even if there are 2 or 3 children cared for in an educator's home," Dunn said.


"There is a lot of peace of mind for parents who have to return to work and want their child cared for in a home environment rather than a large scale care facility.

Hospitals around New Zealand were constantly looking for support staff including support roles such as administrators to commercial cleaners.

The kiwifruit industry was also crying out for staff as backpackers who usually fill the roles in harvest and post-harvest had returned home.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated chief executive Nikki Johnson said a harvest of around 155 million trays of kiwifruit was expected this year.

The industry extended the offer to those in the hospitality, tourism and forestry industries that there were plenty of jobs available in kiwifruit orchards and packhouses over the coming months.

The Ministry of Social Development had repurposed the "Work the Seasons" website to help essential services recruit during level 4.


It was committed to matching workers and employers in security, food production, cleaning, and transport industries during lockdown, level four.

People looking for work could contact MSD on 0800 779 009 or text "jobs" to 226.