‘Scarcity amidst plenty’ for New Zealand employers

Despite high unemployment, around four in five organisations in New Zealand are experiencing talent shortages severe enough to be affecting business results.

‘Scarcity amidst plenty’ for New Zealand employers

Around four in five organisations in New Zealand are experiencing talent shortages severe enough to be affecting business results, according to Deloitte’s third annual ‘Talent Edge New Zealand Survey.’ The survey had about 310 respondents across industrial sectors and across small, medium, and large organisations.

“Some have observed that this can be characterised as scarcity amidst plenty because the overall backdrop seems to be still one of reasonably high unemployment…but 83% or organisations said, ‘We are experiencing shortages today and they are affecting business results,” Richard Kleinert, from Deloitte told 3News.

Those skills that are in shortest supply include critical thinking and problem solving; general management; and initiative and drive. The sorts of roles that are most difficult to fill vary across industries, but include operations in manufacturing, IT in financial services, and executive leadership in the public service, Kleinert said.

The survey also revealed two major disconnects between employers, according to Kleinert. The first is the lack of emphasis on diversity that respondents to the survey expressed – only 1% of employers identified ‘diversity’ as a top talent challenge. “It’s somewhat shocking to me because as I visit with chief human resource officers with organisations around New Zealand, I know that diversity is very much a top of mind issue, an important issue,” Kleinert said.

The other was the importance that employees placed on the employer’s brand compared with the employer’s prioritisation of this. “On the one hand employees do say, ‘If I were thinking about leaving my organisation and going to a new company, the brand and reputation of that organisation is what’s most important to me’,” Kleinert said. But, on the other hand, respondents ranked ‘employment brand’ very low among important people management practices.

While Kleinert didn’t want to ‘blame’ employers for failing to meet these talent challenges, he did describe these findings as a ‘wake-up call’ – especially to those who may be relying on archaic programmes.

“I think it is an important opportunity for organisations to rethink, revisit their overall employment brand and refresh some of the offering, including more emphasis on career path and opportunity, performance management and diversity, including more specialised focus on millennials who have very unique needs and attitudes,” he said.

Key findings:


  • 83% of organisations report they are experiencing talent shortages which are impacting business results.
  • Skills lacking: critical thinking and problem-solving; general management; initiative and drive.
  • Top talent challenges: skills; performance culture; engagement; productivity; cost
  • Only 3% of respondents rate current HR programmes as world class, and over 10% seem them as inadequate.
  • Only 1% of respondents ranked diversity as the top challenge.

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