Recruiter warns of impending worker exodus

Platinum Recruitment director Dean Delaney at his Dunedin office. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Platinum Recruitment director Dean Delaney at his Dunedin office. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A Dunedin recruiter is warning New Zealand’s borders reopening could put even more strain on the country’s tight labour market.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put significant pressure on New Zealand’s labour market with unemployment at one of its lowest levels at 3.2%.

That was "pretty much" full employment, Platinum Recruitment director Dean Delaney said.

Despite what some people thought, New Zealand’s borders reopening would not help the country’s "very tight" labour market, Mr Delaney said.

It might relieve certain sectors, such as agriculture and horticulture, but there was a cohort of New Zealanders who were ready to leave the country as soon as they could.

The younger generation had not been able to go overseas for the past two years on their OEs and now they were finally able to.

As the cost of living increased in New Zealand, workers would also be looking at higher salaries in other countries where it was cheaper to live.

"It is a watch-this-space scenario," Mr Delaney said.

It was an "incredibly tough" time for employers trying to secure talent, potential candidates not wanting to move cities.

"Some people are saying they’ve been through two lockdowns with their current employer and they just are not moving."

Most sectors in Dunedin were short-staffed, but the city’s IT sector was "critical" and most at risk of employees leaving offshore.

Organisations had to meet the market in order to secure skilled workers — "if they don’t, someone else will".

Employers that could promote their "cultural wellbeing" to the candidate were more likely to have success hiring, he said.

"That is what people are looking for these days, not necessarily the biggest paycheck," Mr Delaney said.

Crew Consulting recruitment consultant and co-founder Tom Sweeney, of Dunedin, said it was the tightest market he had seen in his 15 years in the industry.

The country’s borders reopening would have both a positive and negative impact on the IT and technology sectors.

As the majority of the sectors’ workforces were aged between 25 and 35, a lot of those people would be heading overseas as soon as they could.

On the other hand, New Zealand was seen as a destination for a lot of young professionals throughout the world and they would be trying to get into the country when travel restrictions allowed.

Mr Sweeney already had a list of people from overseas who wanted to move to New Zealand to work in the IT sector.

"They will probably come in as quickly as they leave which will be a good thing."

There was a "huge demand" for staff in Dunedin’s IT sector, but potential candidates were not wanting to move around the country.

People wanted to work from home a lot more and stay in one place.

If organisations were willing to be flexible, it would open up a massive talent pool, Mr Sweeney said.




Wow - some folk are never happy. Too high unemployment and it's all about bludgers, now it's too low and workers get a chance to dictate the terms. Shocking.