The future’s bright

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There are some great employment and lifestyle opportunities for skilled migrants in New Zealand, writes Joel Gabites.

It is expected that New Zealand will experience strong economic growth this year – somewhere in the vicinity of 3.5 per cent. Business growth and confidence in the country has been spurred on by a strong demand from Australia and China for New Zealand’s exports. However, a large percentage of employers are finding themselves in a position where projects and new opportunities are lining up but there are not enough skilled people in the local labour market to do the work. In the construction sector, four out of five employers are struggling to fill recruitment needs. The strain on resources is increasing daily as the Christchurch Rebuild gains momentum and investment in infrastructure and residential house building continues. In the agriculture and dairy farming sectors (two of New Zealand’s largest), there is a serious skills shortage. It has been estimated that New Zealand needs an additional 2,000 workers each year to cope with demand and growth.

Many New Zealand employers are now looking abroad for skilled workers and are willing to offer permanent contracts. The UK is an obvious choice to recruit skilled workers for a number of reasons. HR managers and recruiters are investing time and energy into educating themselves about There are skills shortages in NZ’s farming sector immigration policy and the nuances of international recruitment.

SKILLS IN DEMAND

To understand what the skills shortages are in New Zealand, the first place to look is the Essential Skills in Demand Lists (ESID), which are developed by Immigration New Zealand. If your occupation is on the list, you can be sure that there is a genuine shortage of New Zealanders with the same occupation. There are three lists:

There are not enough skilled people in the local labour market
  • Long-Term Skill Shortage List
  • Immediate Skill Shortage List
  • Canterbury Skill Shortage List

The introduction of a Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL) is because of the region’s special labour market needs to rebuild Christchurch.

Many of the roles listed on the ESID are construction-related occupations. This is a reflection of the burgeoning New Zealand construction sector. Like other countries, New Zealand’s construction sector was hit by the global financial crisis but its impact was not severe and it centred on a downturn in commercial construction. The large amount of construction activity is not due to New Zealand being in a particular stage of the economic cycle. Rather it is a result of the Christchurch Rebuild and large government-backed infrastructure and residential housing projects, which must be completed if New Zealand is able to manage a growing population. The Christchurch Rebuild requires significant government (both local and national) and private investment. The recovery effort will include delivery of several ‘anchor projects’ in the inner city, which was hit particularly hard by the earthquakes. The Rebuild operation is likely to take 15 years.

JOBS IN CONSTRUCTION

The strain on New Zealand building companies, trades agencies and sub-trades to meet labour recruitments is unprecedented. The Rebuild is only one aspect of the construction activity. There are projects taking place in both the North and South Islands – from Invercargill to Auckland! There are opportunities in all of New Zealand’s main cities for ‘white-collar’ construction professionals. Employers are on the hunt for several types of surveyors (land, building and quantity), site managers, project managers, engineers (mechanical and electrical design, fire, structural, accoustic and civil). There are also opportunities nation-wide for qualified tradespeople and construction workers who are ‘on the tools’. In the last 12 months, New Zealand Skills In Demand has successfully found employment in New Zealand for those with the following occupations:

  • Carpenters / Joiners
  • HGV Drivers
  • Excavator Operators
  • Scaffolders
  • Commercial / Industrial Electricians
  • Bricklayers
  • Painter and decorators
  • Diesel and petrol engine mechanics
  • Utilities workers
  • Welders
  • Steel fixers

JOBS IN ICT

Despite its size, New Zealand is able to compete on the global ICT stage. Many companies operating in this sector are experiencing considerable growth and recognise the value of ICT professionals from abroad. There are on-going opportunities for software developers and testers, network engineers and business analysts.

The majority of the roles are in Wellington and Auckland – New Zealand’s capital and biggest cities respectively. Companies like Xero (a Kiwi developer of accounting software) and Weta Digital are lifting New Zealand’s profile.

It is New Zealand’s famous work life balance that people crave.

The New Zealand government has bold plans to increase the IT sector’s contribution to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product and is currently rolling-out ultra-fast broadband across the country. In 10 years’ time, New Zealanders will enjoy internet speeds that are 20 times faster than the current speeds.

WHY WORK IN NEW ZEALAND?

It is New Zealand’s famous work-life balance that people crave. This is not to say that Kiwis don’t work hard – they are among the most productive in the world (but always with a smile on their faces). New Zealand prides itself on personal freedom and choice, access to education and healthcare, and a stable government. The future for New Zealand is bright, due to a number of factors. It can provide skilled migrants with a better quality of life in return for assistance to grow the economy and so it becomes a ‘win-win’ situation.

Lydia Walker