Auckland employers battle skills shortage

Last updated 07:37 16/07/2012
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CRISIS: Auckland has jobs available but no skilled workers to fill them, a study shows.

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A major skills shortage in Auckland is holding back the city and restricting the earning potential of its workforce, a study reveals today.

The Committee for Auckland, working alongside the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, interviewed more than 50 significant employers to find out what they needed to address the city's skills shortage.

Key areas of concern were engineering, digital and ICT expertise; food technology and food chemistry. There were also skills gaps in professional management, particularly when looking for international, sales or specialised large client marketing expertise.

The committee found school leavers were not informed about what skills the workforce needed and immigrants, while highly skilled, lacked New Zealand-relevant skills and expertise.

It also found research projects were not aligned with Auckland's skills needs and workforce planning was not done on a regional or industry level.

Committee chief executive Heather Shotter said the study showed what Auckland needed to focus on for the city to thrive.

"Developing a workforce with the right skills is arguably the most important priority for Auckland today. Internationally, cities like Sydney and Stockholm are dressing up their reputations to do battle for skilled immigrants," she said.

Shotter said the study highlighted that the movement of talent was a two-way street and that Auckland needed to pick and choose the right talent to support its growing industries.

In addition to core competencies, the study also identified that non-cognitive skills were also lacking.

"These skills such as self-discipline, agreeableness and conscientiousness are developed first in early childhood so even if we start now, growing a workforce with well-developed personal skills is a long term strategy," Shotter said.

The study concludes that those in the skills development area needed to work together to develop the right academic and personal skills to drive Auckland's economy.

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- Auckland Now

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