NZ employers reveal biggest workplace concerns for 2023

'We need to put the power in the hands of employers and allow them to get the workers they need now'

NZ employers reveal biggest workplace concerns for 2023

Skills and labour shortages have emerged as the biggest concerns for New Zealand businesses, according to a new survey, as authorities are urged to help employers get the workers they need.

The latest Business NZ Network survey found employers in New Zealand were concerned about the following:

  • Skills and labour shortages
  • Inflation/cost-of-living pressures
  • Employment law changes
  • Immigration restrictions
  • General uncertainty around the impact and direction of current or proposed government policies

Read more: Govt urged to move on 'stifling' immigration settings amid high inflation

According to the survey, 87% of employers found it difficult or very difficult to fill staff vacancies over the last year, while 53% found it hard to find or retain workers because of immigration restrictions. As a result, employers revealed they’re prioritising attraction, retention, and upskilling staff in the next 12 months. They’ll also focus on growth, profitability, and survival, as well as cost control.

The findings come as the New Zealand government recently increased the limit of its Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme to 19,000 to assist more businesses in the wine and horticulture sector.

Business NZ Kirk Hope welcomed the expansion but urged the government to consider the shortages faced by businesses in other sectors too.

"The global war for talent has resulted in a very competitive international environment and New Zealand businesses are looking to source skills from the New Zealand labour market where that is possible," said Hope. "But international skills and labour will always and necessarily make up part of our labour market."

Read more: What you need to know: Working Holiday Scheme and Accredited Employer Work Visas

ACT New Zealand, commenting on the findings, also encouraged the government to address its "cumbersome immigration policy."

"Even an accredited employer finds it near impossible to hire migrant workers due to the hoops that they need to jump through. ACT says if you're an accredited employer you should be free to hire who you want," said ACT Immigration spokesperson James McDowall in a statement.

Citing steps taken by other countries to attract more workers, ACT criticised Immigration NZ for acting like a "security guard at the border."

"We need to put the power in the hands of employers and allow them to get the workers they need now. We need these changes to make our society productive again and to let businesses thrive," said McDowall.

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