Cross cutting issues | Kā take e hākai ana ki te rohe whānui

Looking through clear water to stones lining the shore

The outlook for Southland Murihiku’s economy over the next five years is steady. However, we have several wide-reaching labour market challenges on the horizon. The opportunity to address these can’t be ignored – if we work together as a region to tackle these challenges, we put ourselves in a stronger position to sustainably support economic growth, workforce development, and to build a more cohesive, equitable community fabric.

Across the region

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified labour and skill shortages, with the ‘battle for talent’ having a significant impact on Southland Murihiku’s businesses.
  • The pandemic has highlighted the region’s reliance on migrant workers to meet skills and labour demands and exposed a vulnerability to immigration (and border) settings.
  • Attracting people to the region is challenging because of perceptions of distance, isolation, a lack of things to do, as well as the reality of a housing shortage.

Employers told us

  • Some businesses find it difficult to attract people because of negative perceptions of the sector they work within. There is often a lack of clarity about the diversity of roles, career pathways and broader opportunities each sector offers.
  • Businesses seek to be better supported with developing governance and leadership capability, and in strengthening workplace learning and development cultures.

Workers told us

  • There are many people in Southland Murihiku who would like to be more engaged with the labour market. This is a pool of untapped potential. The groups most likely to be underutilised include disabled people, older workers, women, young people and Māori.
  • In keeping with this, work-readiness and transition pathways for rakatahi are a huge opportunity, although not without some unique challenges.
  • While many sectors identify specific technical skill gaps, there are cross-cutting skill development areas mentioned across most sectors, for example essential/ foundation skills, and management/business skills.