Australia and New Zealand labour market report from Hays

30 November 2012

Hays, the global recruitment consultant, has issued the Hays Global Report 2012. For the report, Hays engaged Oxford Economics to survey 27 economies around the world, including Australia's and New Zealand's in order to see whether there are skills shortages and what effect this is having on pay. It found that there are sector specific skills shortages in both countries.

In Australia, the report found, the resources boom continues to create vacancies for high-skilled professionals. Many of these vacancies were for skilled professionals 'working in technical areas associated with extractive industries'. There are also vacancies in other industries which service the resources sector. Hays carried out a report of 1,500 employers in 2012 and found that there were shortages of accountants, accountants, marketing professionals, and managers. Hays says that these skills shortages are likely to get worse as there are a number of large scale resources projects expected to start in the next year.

Australia is given a good mark of 3.8 (against a global average of 5.4) for its flexible labour market and its willingness to grant visas to appropriately skilled foreigners to work in the resources sector.

Many skilled overseas workers are able to go and work in Australia on temporary work visas known as 457 visas. These entitle their holder to live and work in Australia and to take immediate family members with them. The Australian government has set up the Enterprise Migration Agreement system whereby those running large projects worth over AUS$2bn and employing over 1,500 people can ask for numerous 457 visas at once in order to ensure that the project is finished. The employer has to undertake to offer the jobs to Australians first and to train Australians as part of the agreement. It was reported in October that there are currently 14 Enterprise Migration Agreements under negotiation. At least one of these proposals has requested over 2,000 457 visas.

Australia is also accepting applications from skilled migrants under the SkillSelect programme. SkillSelect is welcoming applications from people with many skills including lawyers, medical professionals, teachers, engineers and certain skilled tradespeople

In New Zealand, the rebuilding of Christchurch has caused a great many vacancies in the construction industry. There are shortages of quantity surveyors, residential project managers, senior commercial project managers, machine operators and project managers with drainage experience. This has led to severe wage inflation in these areas.

New Zealand has instituted a new system to enable international workers to register for jobs in Christchurch known as the Christchurch Skills and Employment Hub. This system will enable international workers to apply for visas to work in New Zealand where there are no New Zealanders to take the available positions. Hays reports that there are many such roles.

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