Each passing day of sustained growth brings more confidence to reinvest and take on staff, but the lack of skilled staff threatens to hold firms back from reaching their full potential. Compounding the issue is the investment in time in finding the right staff.
Unlike most corporates, small, privately owned businesses after often run by the owner and rarely employ a human resources specialist. The owner has to scope the role, find and interview candidates, and do the associated paperwork themselves. That’s a big commitment when your total staff might only number half a dozen.
Migration and training are keys to ensuring businesses can access the skills they need to deliver on the opportunities presented by favourable economic conditions, and there’s positive news on both fronts.
As was reported in ANZ BlueNotes in October, New Zealand’s brain drain has turned into a brain gain as thousands of expat New Zealanders return home to enjoy the fruits of the economic recovery.
Joined by significant numbers of new migrants, they pushed net migration figures for the year to September to 45,500, or just over 1 per cent of the population. That’s a massive turnaround from new outward migration of 3280 just two years earlier.
Many of those expats come loaded with valuable skills they picked up working for larger companies during their time away. Businesses also understand they need to take a long-term approach to recruiting and training new staff.
Industry training fell sharply during the recession, from 133,000 trainees to 83,400 at the start of 2013. The Micro Scope survey showed that while current hiring intentions by micro-sized businesses remained flat, hiring intentions of larger small businesses have improved 2 points.
This came against a backdrop of above-average hiring intentions across the small business sector for the past two years. The trend looks set to continue - the net number of small business expecting an improvement in the nationwide unemployment rate in a year’s time rose from a net +20 in September to a net +25 in December.