Tuesday, 28th January, 2020

A two week survey of the Southern Lakes and Central Otago labour market launches today (Tuesday 28 January).

Queenstown Media Group’s JobFix, Wanaka App, The Central App have created this survey with support from the Economic Development team at Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Ignite Wanaka and the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce.

The aim of the survey is to better understand the effects of labour shortages and workforce turnover on the local business economy.

QLDC Economic Development Advisor, Sharon Fifield said the survey would help to shed light on a topic which is often reported by local businesses.

“The survey should provide robust sub-regional data for workforce planning. It is likely to also add weight to the reports that finding and retaining staff is a key issue and that workforce shortages impedes existing operations or future potential,” said Ms. Fifield.

CEO of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, Anna Mickell believes that labour shortages are having a damaging effect on the economic growth and productivity of the district.  This is based on research commissioned by the Chamber in 2016 and 2018.

“Our research showed access to labour was an on-going headwind for Queenstown businesses. [Since this research was conducted] anecdotal evidence suggests the situation has likely deteriorated. I believe the low supply of labour to the region is having an adverse impact on quality of life and business,” Ms Mickell added.

The Executive Officer of Ignite Wanaka, Naomi Lindsay shared this sentiment for the Wānaka market.

“Finding suitable staff appears to be affecting business profitability and ability to meet market demands - with some businesses forced to reduce opening hours to accommodate the shortfall,” said Ms Lindsay.

“In order for us to plan for the future, we aim to use the results of this survey to help identify and address key areas of concern for businesses across all sectors. It should also assist the government, sectors and business to respond at a local, regional and national level,” Ms Lindsay added.

QMG Operations Manager, David Gibbs advised his business is seeing changes in how employers advertise their jobs.

“They are changing their business operations as a result of either the length of time or the inability to find staff. Job vacancies and the time and cost it takes to employ the right number of staff is a significant issue that doesn’t seem to be improving,” said Mr Gibbs.

“This is why we’re carrying out this research. We hope the findings will assist local authorities and business advocacy organisations, and also allow organisations such as ourselves to create better tools to support local businesses to find, the staff they need faster, and hold onto them longer,” Mr Gibbs added.

Click here to complete the survey