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Dedicated MIQ Spots Vital For Construction Industry

The engineering and consulting sector continues to be optimistic about the future but are concerned that a lack of specialist staff will affect their ability to deliver critical projects for New Zealand.

ACE New Zealand Chief Executive Helen Davidson says, “The shortage of specialist staff sits across large market sectors, like water and transport. Because consulting and engineering activity largely occurs before construction begins, if we can’t access the right talent now, we’ll see significant downstream effects including to the cost and time to complete projects, and overall quality.”

Her comments follow today’s release of a new report ‘Consulting and Engineering Sector - Personnel Challenges - The Ongoing Impact of Covid-19”. ACE New Zealand has prepared the report from data collected during a survey of members in January and February 2021.

The survey found that 68% of firms either have concerns or are unsure whether they will be able to recruit enough suitably qualified staff to meet current and future resource needs. Twenty-five per cent of firms have experienced challenges attempting to bring suitably qualified staff into New Zealand.

Ms Davidson says, “The ability to recruit specialist talent from overseas is key to many firm’s strategies to address the skills shortage and sits alongside investing in upskilling the existing market.”

“We all know that our border control measures are a critical pillar of New Zealand’s Covid-19 elimination strategy, and we accept that means different steps are now required to get people into the country to join our workforce. But our border strategy needs to make it easier for specialist skills that are critical to Aotearoa’s infrastructure stimulus to be sought.”

“What we need is firm and decisive action from Government to enable a targeted skills-based approach to immigration and MIQ that supports both our Covid-19 elimination strategy as well as New Zealand’s infrastructure goals. Otherwise, we will see significant impacts on New Zealand’s ability to deliver projects,” says Ms Davidson.

Other results from the survey:

Skills shortages:

The survey revealed that the recruitment of intermediate to senior people with ten years + experience and those holding or with the ability to gain chartered status or equivalent is exceptionally challenging.

Staff shortages are critical in the following areas:

  • Civil engineers at intermediate to senior level,
  • Structural engineers at intermediate to senior level,
  • Geotechnical engineers at senior level,
  • Draftspeople, designers and technicians, at intermediate to senior level,
  • Fire engineers at intermediate to senior level.

Families are important:

People with the skills required to fill these specialist positions are likely to bring their families with them for the duration of the contract. That would require up to 1150 MIQ places to be reserved for the consulting and engineering sector over the next twelve months.

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