For months, one of the pressing issues at the forefront of business owners’ minds is staffing, particularly recruitment of skilled talent.
So now we’re over the Covid lockdowns and borders are opening, things can get back to normal… right?
We asked Ingrid Hennessey, consultant at Personnel Resources | Temp Resources, to shed some light on the current situation when it comes to the job market.
In the local recruitment market, there used to be a pattern to the years. There’d be an influx of travellers from the UK and Canada, South America and Europe who’d take up temporary roles before or after travelling the country. They had a great reputation, were easily employable and versatile.
Kiwi students on long university breaks would also be great prospects for temporary work, and some of them could be placed in different roles over the entire course of their studies.
It was already happening before Covid: Tauranga house prices and limited rental properties were making it difficult for travellers to find accommodation. They weren’t stopping here as much and, instead, went to other centres for work and better, more affordable housing options.
Fast forward a couple of years and firmly closed borders, and the volume of talent just isn’t here. We’re seeing temporary roles quickly morph into permanent ones when employers find someone worth holding onto and those employers who snooze, lose. Not acting quickly and decisively means missing out on good people. We’re seeing it time and time again.
It’s very much a candidate market. People are fishing for offers only to throw them back in the water. Others are genuinely committed to taking up new opportunities, and there are plenty of them for those keen to take advantage of the huge growth and infrastructure development in our region.
Open borders will stretch the candidate pool as people leave to gain overseas experience, but they’ll also bring in new talent, to our benefit. With the recent announcement that our borders will reopen earlier than originally planned comes an easier way for employers to hire and attract migrants. If it hasn’t already begun, work should start now on workforce review and recruitment planning to attract those highly skilled people for previously hard to fill positions.
This should give some surety to capability and productivity in the second half of 2022.
Targeted immigration will be key to increasing the volume of capable workers with the specialist skills and work ethic we need to support the growth of our city. Ideally these skills will come from a variety of countries so that we get a productive workforce of international people keen to contribute to our society.
Lockdown has proven how quickly we can adapt to a remote working model and people have become accustomed to more flexible working arrangements. Productivity continues to be high, but that can be at the cost of engagement. The old watercooler chat and incidental conversations that can inform our work and sense of belonging are not easily replaced by Zoom or Teams.
It’s competitive out there, and the perfect opportunity for employers to review and define their employee value proposition. People know what they’re looking for in terms of company culture, flexibility, pay and benefits so genuine job seekers are being much more deliberate in their search.
The predictable patterns of previous years are making way for more adaptability and responsiveness. So much depends on making informed decisions and taking speedy action.