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New Zealand Employers In Talent Sweet Spottemporarily: Manpower

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
New Zealand Employers In Talent Sweet Spottemporarily: Manpower

New Zealand employers are sitting pretty, with 89 percent reporting they have the talent they need to execute their business strategy, according to the latest Manpower survey.

The survey of over 640 New Zealand employers found that New Zealand is ahead of the Asia-Pacific region (76%), but Chris Riley, General Manager of Manpower New Zealand has raised questions over the sustainability of these positive figures.

"New Zealand employers are still thinking in the short term. Yes, they have the talent they need now but we're coming off the back of a downturn and there are still displaced candidates looking for work, so it's not a stretch to say that hiring in the present environment is relatively easy," said Mr Riley.

"However, employers are mistaken if they think this 'sweet spot' is going to last. The booming resources sector, tightening immigration policies and rapidly returning skills shortages are all going to take their toll on the employment market, and employers can't afford to be complacent with their talent management strategy."

Earlier this year, Manpower's 2010 Talent Shortage Survey reported 30 percent of employers were having difficulty filling key positions, while the quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Surveys indicate employers will continue to increase hiring into the New Year.

"Right now, companies say they're comfortable with the staff they have and are placing their human resources efforts towards improving productivity. But this is a 'recession' mindset, when it was a necessity to do 'more with less'. It seems that until companies see an increase in demand for their products and services, they won't start thinking about what talent they might need for real and sustainable future growth."

"However, the employment market changes rapidly, so companies comfortable with their position now may find themselves in the midst of a talent war that has the potential to hold back growth in the near future.

"Employers need to ask themselves 'do our current workforce strategies support our plans for long term growth in this changing environment?' Many employers would have to answer 'no' for this question."

Despite employer confidence about their current workforce, the survey found that 74 percent of employers identified the talent gap as one of their top three risks in achieving their business strategy.

"The question is, of course, what are employers planning to do about that risk?" said Mr Riley. "If they're not acting now to alleviate the risk and working this into their workforce strategy, they will find themselves grossly unprepared."

Similarly, only 59 percent of companies surveyed said they were fully agile enough to cope with quick changes to the employment market.

Mr Riley suggests several elements necessary for a sustainable workforce strategy.

"Companies should have a comprehensive, long-term workforce plan that looks at how it will attract, develop, engage and retain talent over the long term and how market changes will impact on talent demands.

"They should also look at which work models will produce the best results - contingent workers and virtual work arrangements will increase flexibility, but they need to be planned and be an integrated part of the workforce mix," said Mr Riley.

According to Mr Riley, aligning workforce strategy to business strategy is not a 'once-and-done' activity.

"Employers must regularly revisit and challenge their workforce strategies, taking a wide-lens approach to identify changes in the market before they occur - it's an ongoing process. But companies who do it well are the ones who won't be caught off guard when the skills shortage barks over their own fence."

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