New Zealand’s top 20 most-needed workers

As New Zealand focuses on its recovery from COVID-19, employers across key industries are experiencing a new demand for workers. The competition for talent in these areas may be about to get tougher.

So which industries and roles are in demand now, and what strategies can help employers attract new workers where they’re needed most?

Here’s a snapshot of the top 20 most-needed workers, plus tips for attracting talent to these areas.

Most-needed workers
Current rank
Change since Feb
Nursing-All roles 1 +4
Administrative Assistants 2 -1
Warehousing, Storage & Distribution 3 0
Developers / Programmers 4 0
Retail Assistants 5 -3
Automotive Trades 6 +2
Sales Representatives / Consultants 7 0
Chefs / Cooks 8 -2
Labourers 9 +6
Business / Systems Analysts 10 -1
Building Trades 11 +7
Child Welfare, Youth & Family Services 12 +21
Psychology, Counselling / Social Work 13 +21
Civil / Structural Engineering 14 -2
Account & Relationship Management 15 -1
Customer Service - Call Centre 16 -6
Machine Operators 17 +8
Management - Store 18 -5
Government / council roles 19 +18
Technicians 20 +2

How Healthcare and Construction can drive recovery

Industries with the greatest need for workers are central to the country’s response from the pandemic.

Doug Steel, Senior Economist with BNZ, says that as health has been a defining theme of 2020, it’s little surprise the Healthcare industry is experiencing an increase in demand for workers in Nursing and Psychology.

“I expect that this will continue for some time as healthcare will remain a focus this year,” he says.

Steel says the growing need for workers in key areas of Construction may be due to the recent announcement of a $3 billion government infrastructure investment to help fund the country’s recovery from COVID-19.

“There was also significant infrastructure funding in place prior to COVID, and the recent increase will likely lead to demand for more construction workers,” he says.

“Residential construction may also be adding to the growth in roles,” he adds. “Councils weren’t issuing building consents during the lockdown, but that’s all changed now, so I expect there will be renewed residential building activity between now and Christmas.”

How to attract the most-needed talent

To compete for talent in Healthcare, Dan Hobson, Director of Hobson Health Recruitment, suggests promoting your values and reconsidering salary levels.

“COVID has undoubtedly put added stress and strain on the health sector,” he says. “In frontline roles, we are observing a high level of fear and concern. Employment values have never been so important. It’s about support and working together, and managers leading from the front is imperative. Also, due to high demand for healthcare workers, employers may need to consider increasing salaries.”

To attract top talent in labouring and building services, Troy Thurston, Operations Director at Adecco, says employers should promote upskilling and training opportunities.

“The construction industry has often looked at migrant construction workers to assist with demand and the lack of key skills in the sector,” he says.

“However, with borders closed for the unforecastable future, these roles are now being recruited for in the domestic market, and the sector appears very keen to upskill, train and invest in Kiwis wanting to kickstart their careers.”

More tips for attracting talent now

For many organisations, attracting talent comes with new challenges now. But there are strategies and insights that can help. From a practical perspective, adjusting your hiring process for COVID-19 and beyond may include tweaks to your job ads. Focusing on candidates’ transferable skills is another strategy worth considering – some employers have found it’s helped to broaden talent pools.

For hiring teams, finding ways to adapt and optimise now might include utilising in-house talent and leveraging technology. Finally, when it comes to what employees value, there’s more you can offer talent aside from money: drivers such as learning, purpose or equality can also be attractive to talent.

Source: SEEK job ads listed on in Feb 2020 and July 2020.
Published August 2020

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