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Making better use of workers

Making better use of workers

“As New Zealand’s labour market improves and skills shortages worsen, training and opportunities will need to take into account groups such as unemployed workers and older workers,” Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton told a Small and Medium Enterprise research seminar in Wellington today.

“With skills shortages in many key industries we are entering a ‘buyers market’ for labour and employers need to rethink their recruitment practises,” said Jim Anderton.

“I am sure that more businesses are already starting to value knowledge and experience and hire older workers.

“In the 80s and 90s if you were over 50 and you lost your job then your chances of finding new employment were significantly less than for younger workers. As our population ages and labour becomes more scarce this will have to change.

“I also expect the trend of business start-ups by people who are older will become more obvious.

“Employers will also need to invest in effective training and make a greater commitment to training young as well as unemployed people.

“Regions up and down New Zealand have gone overseas to find workers. Recently the West Coast went to London, Southland launched a campaign in South Africa and Mid Canterbury has looked in Eastern Europe to find the skilled workers they need. We have to ensure we are doing our best to employ local people as well.

“Previously, when I was in both government and opposition, one of the major problems facing the regions of New Zealand was a shortage of jobs.

“Today, less than three years since this coalition government was elected, we have the lowest unemployment in 14 years. It seems like the world has turned upside down,” said Jim Anderton.

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