News & Insights | Understanding Skill Shortages in New Zealand: An Overview

Understanding Skill Shortages in New Zealand: An Overview

28 May 2024

New Zealand’s labour market continues to slow as economic conditions weaken.

For the second in 18 months, New Zealand has experienced a recession – GDP sank 0.1% in the December quarter 2023, following a 0.3% decline in the September quarter.

In turn, the jobs market is showing signs of further weakening – with the volume of job ads falling sharply in February, after a short-lived improvement in January. (New Zealand Labour Market Insights, April 2024).

Current Skill Shortages

New Zealand is facing skill shortages across various industries. These shortages are especially severe in sectors where the demand for skilled labour far exceeds the available supply.

This imbalance presents significant challenges and opportunities for both businesses and job seekers. Understanding these dynamics is essential for effectively navigating career paths and refining hiring strategies.

The issue of skill shortages in New Zealand is pressing and widespread, impacting the breadth of the national economy:

  • Widespread Impact: These shortages are prevalent across numerous sectors, indicating a systemic challenge in meeting the demand for skilled labour.

  • Demand vs. Supply Discrepancy: In many vital areas, the demand for skilled professionals far surpasses the available supply – posing significant challenges for businesses and the economy at large.

  • Strategic Importance for Stakeholders: For businesses, understanding these shortages is crucial for planning effective workforce strategies or job seekers, it is important for directing career paths and educational endeavours.

    Broader Implications and Strategic Responses

    For Businesses

    • Adopt Flexible Strategies: Embracing flexible work arrangements and creative recruitment tactics that may include outsourcing to tap into larger talent pools, bringing in expertise that is more flexible that often reduce operational costs can help attract and retain top talent, especially in sectors with acute shortages

    • Cultivate a Supportive Environment: Developing a workplace culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion can enhance employee engagement and reduce turnover rates.

    • Engage in Partnerships: Forming partnerships with educational institutions can ensure a steady influx of skilled graduates tailored to the specific needs of the industry.

      For Job Seekers

      • Target Skill Shortage Areas: Focusing on sectors with persistent shortages can guide education and training decisions, aligning skills with where they are most needed.

      • Enhance Skills: Investing in both industry-specific skills and soft skills like communication and problem-solving can increase employability across various job markets.

      • Use Technology: Leveraging technology to access online courses, job portals and virtual networking events can provide job seekers with the tools they need to succeed in a competitive job market.


        Skill shortages in New Zealand present a complex challenge that requires thoughtful and concerted efforts to address. The strategic focus must be on robust training and development programs, supported by collaboration between government and industry. This approach will help fill current skill gaps and prepare the workforce for future demands, ensuring the ongoing strength and vitality of New Zealand’s economy.

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