I attended a breakfast recently where a well known economist talked about business confidence being at a level equivalent to 7% GDP growth this year - sounded like we were in China.
That can’t happen of course because of a number of reasons which I won’t go into here, but one of those reasons in particular is the labour market.
Simply there won’t be enough people to employ to assist in achieving that number.
Why? NZ unemployment rate is around 6.5% which is getting close to slim pickings re talent choice. Economists talk about 5% being a flat line for getting talent to assist growth. Significantly, participation rate in NZ, i.e. people in the workforce, is at an all-time high, so it’s not as if we can get people to get back into the workforce after opting out as a result of the GFC. I won’t go on and on about other metrics to do with employment suffice to say you get the picture.
What does this mean?
Talent will have choice and when talent has choice employers who handle the recruitment process poorly miss out. Pure and simple. Muck people around cos you’re too slow or don’t communicate well enough and you’ll be doing the process all over again. Not to mention what it does to your reputation. I could throw some stats at you re the cost of not having people on board, or redoing a recruitment process and the cost of your time and lack of attention on your main job, but you get the drift.
How do you combat this?
The damage, devastation and loss of life following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes is not something this country will forget, however, just as unforgettable is the courage, resilience and determination of Cantabrian’s as they dug in over those initial weeks and months and now move forward with the rebuild of their beloved city.
Three years on from those life changing events, sees a new and vibrant Christchurch emerging to take its place as the hub of business within the South Island and indeed one of the main players within the country.
The scale of the rebuild is almost beyond comprehension with an investment of $40 billion, attracting construction workers from the length and breadth of New Zealand as well as from around the globe. As this rebuild spans the full gamut of residential, commercial, infrastructural, government and community assets it is indeed difficult to fully comprehend the scale of this rebuild and the requirements that this level of construction demands.
Rebuild work is projected to take 10 – 15 years, however, the opportunities that arise from this will no doubt flow on for many decades of growth leaving Christchurch with a thriving economy and a ripple effect that will be felt throughout the country. Economists warn that the danger of seeing this rebuild phase as ‘real’ economic prosperity will see Christchurch slump into a boom – bust cycle, however, by focusing on the opportunities and the actual business that can be built within this rising economy, Christchurch will indeed become a business hub and an economy that will rival both Auckland and Wellington.
Workers are moving in for the long haul and its not just money and stability of work that attracts people. Without sounding like an advertisement, Christchurch, during this rebuild phase, currently offers construction workers a wage comparable to Auckland rates but also the enviable bonus of being able to afford housing and the opportunity to actually ‘live’ into the bargain, not something anyone would sniff at. Three years ago many would not have considered a move to Christchurch; however, it is now seen as family friendly, with an affordable cost of living and an enjoyable mix of outdoor activities including walk and cycle ways and beaches. Additional to this, the rebuild plans not only to fix what was broken but to build a city that enhances and adds vitality to the lives of the people living within Christchurch. Do not grab your hat and expect to get off the plane in Christchurch with the vision of flowing milk and honey as Christchurch still has its challenges and they are by no means small. Currently, there is a lack of residential property, there are infrastructure challenges and frustrations, with recent flooding only adding to these problems.
Needless to say, the spin off on the Christchurch economy that has been kicked off with this rebuild is not to be ignored and only a fool would turn a blind eye to the obvious opportunities that are still on the horizon. Christchurch has emerged from a flat-lining economy to falling unemployment and an acceleration in both business and consumer confidence. What will quite possibly set Christchurch apart from an economy that might well fall victim to the boom – bust cycle is the drive and resilience of the business community, which now has an agility to cope with economic change and an ability to seize opportunity as it arises. It has been said that Christchurch’s biggest strength is the fact that people choose to live there, which can't hurt either.
The legal employment market has gradually picked up from last year according to Venator senior legal and regulatory consultant Jane Wellik.
Ms Wellik says there is a significant amount of “energy and movement” in government roles which is reflective of pre-election activity, but that will settle around mid-year.
She says many law firms are looking to build on existing teams due an increase in activity.
“Construction and infrastructure lawyers are still highly sought after in Wellington and the South Island, as are RMA lawyers,” Ms Wellik says.
Increased commercial activity, particularly in the main centres, has created a need for more commercial and banking and finance lawyers.
Fixed term roles in varied practice areas continue to come to the fore, Ms Wellik says, as a result of maternity leave and specific projects.
She says energy sector expansion has also provided opportunities for practitioners within relevant firms, and that in-house counsel roles are still in short supply and highly sought after, particularly by those returning from overseas.
April 2014 will bring the dawn of a new 'Affordable Housing' policy that will spell not only the end of Housing New Zealand's 'House For Life' policy but also a new age and attitude in terms of how housing will be allocated and by whom. The old system was, in its attempt to give aid and assistance, simply entrenching individuals, families and generations in a cycle of poverty that gave no opportunity to move away from dependence on state housing.
The NZ Herald has reported today how job applicants have been targeted by identity thieves where fake job scams have been run through TradeMe Jobs and Seek, both highly popular and reputable job advertising platforms.
Job seekers and employers alike gravitate to technology for an update in terms of roles, who is advertising for what and where in the job hunting scene. It follows that scammers are also going to see an opportunity, disgusting and aggravating as this may be, it is also the sad fact of living in our technology focused age.
"Although concerning, this type of scam is to be expected given the number of scammers out there over various platforms, applicants need to be wary." says Bede Ashby, Managing Director Momentum Holdings Ltd.
Applicants are further safe guarded when job hunting to note whether roles are advertised through well known and reputable employment agencies, such as Momentum, which have New Zealand contact details and nationally known recruiting consultants who are easily researched on platforms such as LinkedIn and through the momentum website, www.momentum.co.nz.
Bede goes on to say, "At the end of the day, although we have not had any issues to date, our team are ever aware and vigilant. Applicant's need to know that a simple call to one of our offices will have any queries or concerns answered."
I started my professional life as a nurse, one of my strongest memories of my time as a newly graduated Staff Nurse was the way some of our seniors took every opportunity to bully and humiliate us. Naturally, this happened when we were mere student nurses, but the ante was most definitely on the up when we became a fully fledged Registered Nurse. I can't say I had experienced bullying before and had no strategies or idea on how to get through it, so my plan was simply to tough it out and never let anyone know that I was bothered by this behaviour. Eventually I was left alone, my fellow junior Staff Nurse who left almost every shift for the first six months of her career in tears did not fare as well. I assume this was the case because she reacted and became visibly upset with every jibe and comment, so she was targeted again and again. We would see each other at shift change and everyday she would have yet another harrowing tale to tell and no matter how I tried to encourage her to remain unemotional when faced by her tormentors, she simply could not do it.