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Navigating Talent Shortage in Aotearoa

Facing a Talent Shortage in Aotearoa

Despite the border reopening, talent shortage is still a headache for Aotearoa's organisations and businesses. The NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion shows that businesses are short of skilled employees and are struggling to fill vacancies. We are going through not just a skill shortage, but a labour shortage. 

Moving into the second half of 2022, HR professionals will be facing a number of challenges as you'll see below in this edition of HRNZ News. Along with a recap of the current news, we’ve included some great stories from Aotearoa HR professionals and suggestions to help you and your HR teams keep on top of things.

With the current tug-of-war with good talent, companies will benefit from understanding their comparative staff turnover and what is being done by other New Zealand businesses to retain and attract staff.  Take part in The New Zealand Staff Turnover Survey – brought to you by Lawson Williams in partnership with HRNZ. The FULL report is offered FREE to all applicants.
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Employment Snapshot

Labour Shortage & Employees' Sickness

The current staffing situation has put Kiwis’ wellbeing at risk. According to Stats NZ, in the first quarter of 2022, 44,200 employees were away from work for a full week because of sickness or injury. This stat is recorded as the highest in the last five years. 

According to The Indian Weekender, it is not due to a huge quantum of sickness, but it’s from having no one to cover because there just aren’t enough staff.

Delays in Visa Processing

Visa applications currently overwhelm the immigration system. There have already been 5000 New Zealand employers who applied for accreditation ahead of the AEWV category opening. By 3 July 2022, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) already recorded 101,585 applications for 2021 Resident Visa. INZ has 20 percent fewer staff than before the pandemic which has also contributed to a massive delay of resident and work visa processing. 

Brain Drain is Under Way

Although we are expecting an increase in overseas talent moving to New Zealand, it is still likely that migration would be in the negatives until the end of the year. Government officials forecasted that up to 125,000 Kiwis may leave the country in the next year. The question here is “The cost of food is up, petrol is up, and mortgage rates are on the rise, what are the ways employers can do to attract and retain the young workforce?” 


Legislative Movements

Working Holidays Visas 

Working Holidays Visas have been open for applications for the vast majority of people overseas on a rolling basis. A few countries are still waiting for applications to open which is expected to be in August and September. 

Holidays Act Amendment 

The Holidays Act Taskforce was established to suggest improvements to the Holidays Act. Some highlights: 

  • Clearer formulas for calculating annual holidays and Family Violence, Bereavement, Alternative Days, Public holidays & Sick leave (FBAPS) payments and deductions 
  • Change in FBAPS leave eligibility: Bereavement leave, family violence leave, and 1-day sick leave are available from first day of employment. Three-day bereavement leave is available to cover more family members 
  • Greater transparency overall 

The Taskforce is working towards introduction of the amended Bill in 2023. 

A rise in living wage 

As more employers join the Living Wage Movement, Aotearoa living wage hour rate for 2022/2023 will become $23.65 an hour. This will come into effect on 1 September 2022.  


What has been done by HR Professionals?

McDonald’s - Innovative Talent Acquisition 

With a vision of attracting better talent faster, and engaging and retaining them more consistently, McDonald’s initiatives include: 

  • Survey and focus group to listen to both current and potential employees 
  • Determine the focus areas in respect to an employee’s journey based on the feedback 
  • Employment branding campaign: Made at Macca’s (including social marketing) 
  • New career portal 
  • Visual recruitment aids, QA codes, Weekly Hotspot articles and more. 

They also support migrant workers through obtained accreditation. Wellbeing initiatives have been provided to the entire workforce.

Read more on page 98…

BNZ – A strong pipeline of Māori talent 

BNZ implemented the program which is centred around tikanga and delivered through a Māori worldview, in partnership with external tāngata whenua providers.

  • Te Hōkaitanga: a 12-month program that focuses on exploring and evolving leadership capability through a Māori lens 
  • Rōpū Projects with Māori being led by Māori 
  • Te Pūtaketanga: a supporting programme for all BNZ staff to gain a better understanding of Māori culture

Other elements are 1:1 coaching, individual development plans, mentorship, strength finder assessments, etc.
Read more on page 8...


HR Implications

The current workforce is presented with a massive number of open job opportunities, which puts more pressure on hiring managers and HR to not only retain and develop their current talent, but to recruit smarter as well. Below, you’ll find some quick tips to help you and your teams keep on top of these issues, and strategize solutions that will work for your workplace.