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Women Workers Key to Tackling Skill Shortages

Women Workers Key to Tackling Skill Shortages

Employers would have less of a problem with skill and labour shortages if they removed the barriers that prevented women from participating in the paid workforce, Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said today.

An Auckland Chamber of Commerce study has found a shortage of labour is limiting growth for a quarter of all businesses surveyed and chief executive Michael Barnett has identified a need for employers to be more proactive in tackling the problem.

Participation of women in the paid workforce is relatively low, for example the rate in New Zealand is 60 per cent compared with 77 per cent in Sweden.

“There a range of reasons for this, including low wages in many industries that provide part-time work, unattractive or insecure part-time work, lack of access to affordable, quality early childhood education and lack of access to out of school care,” Carol Beaumont said.

“Basically, it is about the difficulty of balancing work and other personal and caring responsibilities.”

Employers needed to consider flexible working hours and arrangements that suit workers, and invest in further training for their staff, she said.

The current trend towards looking at temporary migrant labour as a solution should be the last resort.

“The answer is in providing decent work for New Zealanders that will enable women, older workers and the unemployed to participate fully in the labour market,” Carol Beaumont said.

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