A summary: The challenges

Employers are experiencing widespread and significant shortages of staff.

Sometimes this is an “absolute” shortage of people with the required skills and experience. Other reasons involve issues around the attractiveness of regions, sectors, industries, occupations, specific firms or individual jobs, or other recruitment issues. For sectors that have relied on migrant workers, the closed borders due to Covid have exacerbated shortages significantly. Employers’ internal business policies and practices will also affect their ability to make the most of the existing workforce. These factors are explored further in the “Key challenges” section later in this plan.

In the Wellington region:

  • Employers are experiencing significant shortages of qualified and skilled people. We see this especially in healthcare; construction and infrastructure; digital technologies; manufacturing; the primary sector and the visitor sector.
  • We’ve relied heavily on immigration, but this isn’t sustainable and doesn’t utilise the people we have right here.
  • We’ve got groups of people, particularly disabled people, Pacific Peoples and Māori who find it harder to get jobs, who are over-represented in lower skilled jobs, under-represented in higher skilled jobs, and don’t get the same opportunities to progress in the workplace. That’s not right, and it’s also an enormous waste of potential.
  • We’ve also got lots of people who would like to work more if they could or would join the workforce if the right opportunities came along.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi is a promise that we will live in this country as equal partners. Māori are an increasingly important part of the workforce, and bring unique skills, but while the Māori economy is a force whose time has come, we’re still not working as equal partners with Māori and Iwi.
  • People often don’t know how to get the skills they need for a job, or where they can do their training. There is information out there, but it’s not always easy to find, clear, or joined up. Sometimes there is no clear pathway or qualification framework for a sector or job, and people get stuck in lower skilled and poorly paid jobs.
  • Training doesn’t always meet the needs of learners, or employers.
  • We’re not well connected; job seekers often don’t know about all the varied and interesting jobs available in our region, and employers don’t know where to look for staff. It can be hard for people to move from work or training into work, or back into work after being out of it. We need better join-up between schools, training organisations, employers and government agencies.
  • Some workers, and learners, just cannot physically get to work and training places. They live in areas with very limited or no public transport and face significant barriers to getting their drivers’ licences.
  • Employers want more diverse and inclusive workforces, but they need help and knowledge to create workplaces where all workers feel accepted, respected, and are able to stand in their own mana.