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Wanaka business confidence remains high

October 2, 2017

Wanaka business confidence remains high with continued investment and growth

Wanaka business owners continue to invest in their staff and businesses, displaying continued confidence in the local economy, according to results of the latest Ignite Wanaka Business Confidence Survey released today.

Of the 82 survey respondents, 64% believe the general business situation in Wanaka will improve over the next six months and 28% believe the outlook would remain about the same.

In contrast, just 37% believe the general business situation across New Zealand will improve in the next six months, re-enforcing Wanaka’s unique and strong economic position and continued growth in areas such as construction and tourism.

“While investment in Wanaka businesses remains high and the overall economic outlook is strong, there are indicators that some businesses struggle to find suitable staff and there’s a shortage of long term affordable housing,” says Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce Chair Alistair King.

“Unless this is addressed, businesses may struggle to grow. The Chamber’s role is to aid economic growth of the region – via The Cube – and our local business network and we’re keen to ensure we continue to work on ways to address these issues.”

“We’re proactively working on addressing concerns around affordable housing, forming a Wanaka working group to work alongside the mayoral taskforce and we look forward to the results of this initiative and how it can be rolled out in Wanaka,” King says.

Almost half the survey respondents (44%) indicated that the ability to hire skilled staff is the same as it was three months ago, while 23.08% say it’s now harder to find skilled workers.

Securing unskilled staff is the same as it was three months ago for 41.9% of businesses, while 13.21% (up from 9.7% in the last survey) say it’s easier and 9.43% (compared to 14.5% previously) say it’s getting harder to find unskilled workers.

The top two factors most limiting Wanaka businesses’ growth is finding the right staff at 24.49% and capacity at 20.41%. Demand and the ability to secure finance came in as joint third, with 16.33% of respondents saying this was their biggest factor on limiting growth.

Staff remuneration levels have continued to trend upwards with a sharp increase in the number of local businesses implementing higher percentage pay increases in the last 12 months than previous years. Around 15% of respondents gave an increase of between 1-2% (28.6% last time), while 43% gave an increase of 3-5% (compared with 25.4% last survey).

This upwards trend is set to continue with 30% of businesses saying they would be giving a 1-2% increase in wages again in the next 12 months and almost 37% saying an increase of between 3-5% was on the cards for this year.

Unsurprisingly, 27.91% of respondents said staff costs had the largest effect on their businesses profitability in the last 12 months, followed by finding the right staff at almost 26%.

Reflecting anecdotal evidence already gather by Ignite Wanaka, a whopping 77% of respondents identified affordability as one of the main issues with housing in Wanaka.

Almost 50% identified a lack of long term housing as the main issue, with 25.53% saying short term accommodation was the biggest concern.

“It’s evident that housing affordability and supply is a key concern for members and this is an area of concern the Chamber has taken the lead on,” King adds.

“It’s encouraging to read that about 40% of the respondents said they would consider investing in accommodation for their staff if there was a return for them. This means that there’s a vested interest by businesses to think differently in this area and we’ll continue to lead the way in this area.”

Other key stats from the Business Confidence Survey:
Almost 40% of businesses said they would be investing in their business in the next 12 months.

General growth costs (33.33%) and staff costs (19%) are the two main concerns for businesses over the next six months.

75% said their business could not function without the internet, with a further 21% saying it was a high priority, highlighting the strong need for fast, quality internet in Wanaka.

More than half the respondents are small businesses with five or less employees. A further 30% have between 10-20 staff.

Almost 50% of respondents said new visa legislation was a barrier to hiring unskilled staff


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