Workload increasing for many

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 10:51 11/10/2012

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Almost a third of Kiwi employees are working more than 51 hours a week and more than a quarter are working longer hours than a year ago, according to a survey by recruiter Hudson.

More than half of respondents said their workload had increased in the past year, thanks to more projects, greater demand from customers and smaller team sizes.

The Hudson report on employment trends found about 30 per cent of employers said they were experiencing increased employee burnout.

Hudson New Zealand executive general manager Roman Rogers said many businesses were "flying while they build the plane".

"Balancing business as usual and project commitments can be tricky - employees are exposed to great work and opportunities, but it also means they are working harder and longer."

The survey also canvassed employers' hiring intentions, and found 59 per cent intended to keep staffing levels steady, while 31 per cent planned to employ more people.

Rogers said that reflected the trend of cautious but growing consumer confidence.

Hiring intentions in the South Island were higher than those in the North, with many organisations in Canterbury trying to maintain business as usual and at the same time increase resource for rebuild activities. Companies were hiring more contractors in administration, finance and project management.

Industries with the strongest hiring intentions include government, education, and financial services or insurance.

ICT staff were going to be the most sought after of any profession, particularly project managers, business analysts and testers.

Rogers said the increase in projects could be influencing the demand for contractors, with just under a quarter of employers intending to increase their contractor base.

Employers were moving from employing contractors on hourly or daily rates to fixed term contracts - which were better value.

Employers needed to be clear about what they were trying to achieve and what behaviours and skills they would need in employees.

"In many instances, fewer people are doing a broader range of tasks and work is less specialised.

"Employees need to be agile, adaptable, resilient and open to change. Employers need to ensure that they are testing for these factors during the recruitment process rather than focusing on a candidate's technical skills as these are not an effective indicator of high performance."

Hudson surveyed 1090 New Zealand employers in August for the report.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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