Paradoxes emerge in region's job market

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:16 03/06/2014
 Justin Kenward
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
TRADE NEED: Mechanic Justin Kenward works on a client’s car at One Stop Brake & Auto in Blenheim. Tradesmen like ntsGhimselfnte he are in short supply in Marlborough.

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Marlborough businesses are receiving dozens of applications for part-time jobs, while trade companies struggle for months to find staff.

Hundreds of qualified people are applying for jobs that are out of their field of expertise, or unqualified people are applying for jobs that require experience.

However, Maher & Moseley Panelbeaters owner and manager Marc Flood said getting qualified candidates for panelbeater jobs had been a struggle. There was a shortage of qualified people and more money was luring qualified workers to Australia, he said.

Auto Electric City Blenheim manager Arthur Anderson said he was excited to receive as many as six applications for their auto electrician/mechanic position.

This was their second round of advertising and they had to add "mechanic" to the advert because they could not find any qualified auto-electricians.

"At the time we advertised for the first position, there were 19 adverts online for auto-electricians alone. We are losing our students to other industries like forestry or they leave for Australia," he said.

The opposite happened to French Essence Cafe owner Dave Anderson when he advertised six mostly part-time vacancies and received dozens more applicants than he expected.

He was surprised how many people with qualifications were applying for part-time positions for up to six hours at his cafe and wondered if it was because of job shortages in the region or if the town was growing.

Recruitment consultant Sally Higgins said their applicant database had grown and it appeared to be mainly the result of people moving into Marlborough.

It seemed more couples were being drawn to the region, as opposed to families, she said. One partner would accept a position in Marlborough and the other would then look for work, Higgins said.

Often the partners took jobs outside their field of experience to keep them motivated, rather than sitting at home, she said. "The applicants' talents cover a broad range from lawyers to winemakers."

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager Hamish MacFarlane said growth in the wine industry had brought more people to Marlborough.

But people had also switched jobs into viticulture, he said. "I have had enquiries across my desk from people hoping to find work in the region, some not being able to. So there is definite interest in our region and people want to live here, but some industries are flooded and others need qualified applicants," he said. germari.herselman@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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