The case for more skilled migration is made in a report that focuses on the most severely affected industry sectors, manufacturing and tech. These two sectors are strategically important due to their significant number of high-value jobs, export revenue, growth potential and contribution to regional prosperity.
After two years of relatively closed borders and an economy now growing at 4.9%, it is crunch time for industry. There is strong local and international demand for their products and services, but they are not able to produce what they did prior to the pandemic, let alone additional orders and growth.
Businesses are reporting impacts such as:
- A high-growth high-tech business is looking to open a second office offshore as it can’t fill senior roles needed to help grow the local team by 300 roles over the next three years.
- A large exporting high-tech manufacturing firm are short 20 staff in roles from project management, mechanical design, electrical design, controls and skilled tradespeople. They are about to turn down a $5 million order from Australia, as they are unable to fulfil it with their current workforce.
- Trans-Tasman businesses are reporting moving new hires and departments to Australia.
Boyd Warren, Christchurch General Manager of Innovation and Business Growth, said that local businesses understand that the long-term solution is to grow homemade talent for these high-skilled roles but that takes time.
“It takes five years to get a qualified person out of Ara to a point where they are a profitable employee,” said John Vale, the chief executive of electrical component manufacturer Vynco.