In a business environment where employers have all the choice, it might be possible to support a view that employers should not be expected to change to suit their employees.

But that is not the world we now live in. In the new economy, businesses not only compete in creativity, novelty, service and price but also in their capacity to be attractive places for employees.

It is this fundamental reality that Mark Berghan fails to acknowledge in his one-sided article on this page describing the process he uses to recruit immigrants.

If migrants - or any other job seekers for that matter - have the qualifications, skills and attitude to do a particular job, but are turned down because they have spelling mistakes in a resume or are not fluent English-speakers, this is a sure sign of an intolerant employer.

For the job-seeker, such intolerance will likely be taken as a warning sign that it will stretch to other aspects of the employment relationship.

I suggest that Mark Berghan's version of reality from, as he puts it, a Pakeha employer's perspective, is increasingly unrepresentative.

To dismiss applications without looking at the skills and attitudes, or because those applying can't meet basic process requirements, presupposes someone assuming a one-way relationship.

In fact, enlightened employers are seeking people with the right attitudes and who are prepared to train for skills. Today, flexibility in a business is a virtue. Successful employers will reflect an attitude showing that they like to move quickly, take risks, move across sectors and build relationships with diverse customer groups.

For this kind of business, the greatest value is added when employees can also use the business to advance their careers and lifestyle aspirations.

In the past five years many employers have found it more difficult to recruit both skilled and unskilled workers. At the same time, unemployment among migrant people in New Zealand tops 10 per cent.

This suggests some intolerance on the part of employers. Chamber of Commerce research has found it is not limited to immigrants but includes other groups, such as women returning to the workforce, mature workers, and young people.

The NewKiwis scheme established five years ago as a joint venture with the Ministry of Immigration, has helped more than 1700 immigrants into fulltime meaningful employment.

More than 90 per cent of immigrants have tertiary qualifications and, in our experience, are more often precluded for being overqualified.

The scheme was established when our surveys showed that employers were losing the upper hand in recruiting people with needed skills, while many highly qualified new immigrants were having great difficulty finding meaningful work.

Our NewKiwis scheme has provided a platform where the processing criteria focus on actual skills and attitude. Spelling, presentation and language can be addressed in a positive way rather than be used as a reason for automatic rejection.

Is Mr Berghan's article showing our own intolerance and discrimination towards migrants, when employers so dismissively reject applications without bothering to look at their actual skills and attitude?

Perhaps this attitude explains why so many migrants - and also recently qualified Kiwi graduates - leave the country because the skills they offer have not been recognised by the market.

If job-seekers and employers alike are having difficulty achieving respective aspirations - job-seekers to find employment of choice and employers to recruit people with needed skills and attitude - then Mr Berghan's article, unfortunately, shows why so many from both these groups are giving up on the prospect of finding suitable work or establishing a flourishing business.

We are a multicultural society in which diversity in business is increasingly the norm. At the same time, Auckland's migrants could be better integrated to the benefit of both new Kiwis and the overall community.

The dismissive attitude displayed by Mr Berghan towards immigrants - and others - who may have top skills and attitudes and a lot to contribute, is among the things that need to change in our journey towards becoming a more enlightened and successful society.

* Michael Barnett is chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

Information on the NewKiwis scheme