Job-seekers hold up notices at busy junction to alert would-be employers to their plight.

When you are told you are over-qualified to stock supermarket shelves, one option is stand on the street with a sign pleading for a job - any job.

Nick Greet has been out of fulltime employment for the past six months.

The 47-year-old was among a small group of people at the intersection of Cavendish and Lambie Drives, in Manukau, yesterday.

Holding up makeshift signs, they advertised their qualifications in a bid to get a job.


Mr Greet's qualifications include a masters degree in social work and a bachelor of theology from the University of Otago.

He is a registered social worker and worked for Child, Youth and Family for six years until last July, when he decided he wanted to do something different.

Despite his background, he has failed to get any call-backs from the roughly 70 job applications he has filled out for positions here and in Australia. "I've done social work and advocacy work for years and now I'm doing client advocacy work for the Family Crisis Intervention Service - but I don't get paid for it.

"I've applied to about 60 to 70 jobs and had nothing. Last month I went around some retail stores ... and was told I was over-qualified to stock shelves.

"I just want a job. I want to work."

Kristina O'Neale, 32, has struggled to find full-time work since 2008. She has held several temporary jobs during that time but is trying to get a fulltime role.

"I'm looking for any sort of office work - I can do accounts, work on reception and I did that for an insurance company for a few years.

"I miss working. I miss having the freedom to buy nice things because I just can't afford it."


The group were inspired by Chanelle Haffenden, a 22-year-old who came up with the sign idea last year after finding herself homeless and with no money.

The owner of an ice-block company, Nice Blocks, spotted her holding her sign and gave her a job.

"I've been working there ever since. I've been there for a year and it's great. My boss said at the time that he liked that I was showing initiative."

Ms Haffenden was with the group in Manukau.

Employment law advocate Danny Gelb said sometimes employers did not give jobs to people deemed "over-qualified" because they were afraid they would leave early.

"It's like if a rocket scientist was hired as a truck driver. That scientist may not be in it for the long haul," Mr Gelb said.

A spokeswoman from the Human Rights Commission acknowledged that it was not something that came under the grounds of discrimination as set out in section 21 of the Human Rights Act.

For the three months to September 30, the unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent. Of 134,400 unemployed people, 61,700 were men, and 72,600 were women.

Anyone wishing you make contact can email organiser Chanelle Haffenden at