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Firms target Australia for new recruits

29 July 2008

Firms target Australia for new recruits

New Zealand’s employers are doing their bit to reverse the much-vaunted trans-Tasman brain drain by actively targeting Australian candidates to fill job vacancies.

In the latest Global Workplace Survey from recruitment specialist Robert Half, 26% of New Zealand employers said they were actively recruiting overseas – and more than half (54%) of those were focusing on Australia to fill vacancies.

It tied first equal with the United Kingdom as a source of skilled foreign staff, with Asia a distant third at 23%. The least-favoured regions for sourcing staff were the Middle East and South America.

The most common reason for companies recruiting overseas was an inability to find suitably skilled candidates in New Zealand (57%), followed by a desire to find candidates with international experience (28%).

The internet was the most popular method of recruiting overseas, with 44% of companies seeking foreign recruits using online job boards and 38% of them using their organisation’s website. Only 21% used global recruitment firms and 20% used industry associations.

However, the most common difficulty New Zealand employers faced in recruiting overseas was that once the new employees arrived, they weren’t familiar with local work practices (31%).

Steve McGowan, division director of Robert Half Technology in Auckland, says it is good to see New Zealand employers broadening their employment net outside the country, but they could be spreading it even wider by targeting non-traditional markets.

“In several sectors, such as accounting, finance and technology, New Zealand is facing an unremitting skills shortage – and will continue doing so, despite the economic slowdown,” says McGowan.

“But by concentrating mainly on the traditional countries of Australia and the UK to find new recruits, employers are cutting themselves off from the highly educated professionals from other countries, who have a lot to offer a growing multi-cultural business sector such as ours.”

With international trade becoming increasingly important to businesses of all sizes, widening employment drives to include skilled workers from a variety of countries and cultures makes good business sense, says McGowan, who gained his commerce degree at Allahabad University in India.

The survey was answered by more than 4500 human resource and finance managers across 17 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It included 239 companies from New Zealand


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