Skills shortage hurts New Zealand businesses

More New Zealand organisations are planning a hiring spree over the next 12 months as their growth prospects improve, but four out of five Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are concerned that they would not be able to find the people with the skills needed to fill these positions.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Report, ‘The Talent Challenge: Adapting to Growth’ surveyed more than 1300 CEOs in 68 countries, including 43 of them in New Zealand.

It reveals that, after a number of years of headcount cuts, half of these organisations are looking to hire again globally, including 54% of New Zealand’s CEOs.

Although worryingly, 80% of New Zealand CEOs said that the availability of key skills is the biggest business threat to their organisation’s growth, compared to 63% globally, with technology and engineering firms struggling the most with the shortage of skilled employees.

Widening gap

The gap between the skills of the current workforce and the skills that businesses need to achieve their growth plans is widening. Despite rising business confidence equating to more jobs, organisations are struggling to find the right people to fill these positions.

Competition for talent will be intense at the same time as the battleground has been re- drawn. Business leaders are looking for people with a far wider range of skills than ever before and gone are the days of life-time careers; chameleon-like employees who apply their skills whenever and wherever they are needed are now in high demand.

Businesses should get out of the mind-set that new skills equals new people. The most successful organisations will combine recruitment with developing their own people to be more adaptable to its changing plans.

Changing strategy

A majority of New Zealand’s business leaders (90%) say that they need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent, although three in five have not taken any steps to do so.

CEOs should re-think the way they value their employees. Taking advantage of the developments in HR data analytics to predict the skills, they must plan for changes in demand and supply will be crucial, “concludes Mr Hassall.

Bruce Hassall is Chief Executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers New Zealand based in Auckland. PwC is a global firm with a network of offices in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.

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