Covid-19 has shaken the world in almost every way possible – and the available employee pool in New Zealand is no exception. What was once a relatively standard select and fit process for employers looking for new people, has changed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently announced our borders would remain closed to most of the world for 12 months, perhaps longer. The ripples will be felt for up to five years. Even then the world will likely need to adapt to a ‘new normal’.
The drastic drop in backpackers and shortage of RSEs has hit orchards, vineyards and vegetable growers across New Zealand hard. But what the Ryan + Alexander team is seeing is across the board.
We usually see waves of highly skilled people travelling to, and through, New Zealand and looking for work on a temporary or contract basis. Closed borders means those people are simply not here. There are new waves of people coming through, looking for work but they are not the ‘norm’.
Gone are the travelling 20 and 30-somethings, looking to step into a role for three, six or 12 months. And while employers might feel thrown, we feel there is an excellent opportunity for them to reset in a way which can be beneficial to their business.
What we are seeing is current job seekers fall into three main groups: those fresh from school, university or trade training, and an older group, often 40+, who may previously have been viewed as over-experienced.
While those fresh to the market from study may be lacking on-floor experience, there is an opportunity to employ them while they are hungry to learn. They can often come up to speed quickly with some training, after all it still rings true that attitude is everything.
The more experienced worker has a lot to offer. In the past they may have been overlooked for a role in favour of the sociable up and comers in their 20s and 30s. Now is the time to give these workers a chance to shine.
Perhaps most exciting of all is the return home of New Zealanders at all ages and stages of life, and their careers. Their return heralds a massive opportunity for employers with the decades-long ‘brain drain’ finally likely to reverse. People with energy, experience, drive and creativity have moved home, all looking to work and settle across the country.
If employers think about what will attract and retain returning New Zealanders to their business, they have an incredible opportunity to scoop up some of these returnees.
Employers need to shift to a more open-minded approach to resourcing their businesses. While teams may not look like they always have, there is a major opportunity for businesses, towards diversity of thought and capability. If they choose not to embrace this change, then growth and productivity will be limited.
With the available workforce shrinking and changing, there needs to be a mindset change. Those who adapt will be the ones who will thrive in this active, constantly shifting environment, embracing change and ultimately, choosing growth.