Skip to main content
EmploymentJob BoardsRecruitment

A Poor Sense of Timing from Manpower Professional

By February 24, 201113 Comments

For a change I don’t have a lot to say this morning, other than to gather your thoughts on this job posted on SEEK at 1.18pm yesterday:

Engineering opportunities across the ditch

  • Get paid to move away
  • Great career progression opportunity
  • Excellent travel opportunity for the family

Our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent events in Christchurch. Having been there in September for the 7.1 earthquake and endless aftershocks, I can relate to the destruction and post traumatic distress the latest shocks have caused.

If you are looking for an opportunity to get away for a while, Australian Engineering firms could be your silver lining. With paid relocation and resettling assistance, the next 2 years could be an experience that you and your family will not regret.

Our consultants are currently working on Senior Engineering roles across a variety of disciplines and locations including:

Electrical Engineers:

  • Senior Distribution Engineer -Electrical Engineering MV and LV Distribution
  • HV Substation Design Engineers
  • Transmission Lines Design Engineers

Civil Engineers:

  • Principal Maritime/Marine Structures Engineer
  • Senior Civil Engineers – Land development
  • Senior Civil Engineers – Water resources
  • Senior Hydrologists
  • Principal Water Resources Engineer
  • Senior Structural Engineer – Career path to Branch Manager
  • Principal Geotechnical Engineer – Water retaining structures

Metallurgical and Process Engineers:

  • Process Engineer – Minerals processing experience preferred

These opportunities are with well renowned organisations on the East Coast of Australia (predominantly Brisbane) offering excellent salaries and career advancement opportunities. If you would like to discuss any of the above roles or how you would go about moving. Submit your CV using the APPLY button

This ad was posted almost exactly 48 hours after the earthquake struck on Tuesday. There are still people missing, the rescue and recovery mission is still underway, and there are still people out there hoping against hope that their friends, relatives or colleagues will make some kind of miraculous reappearance from the rubble of Christchurch. Am I being a little precious here, or is this just way too early?

Now the author of this job posting seems like a good enough boy. He was in Christchurch during the original September quake, caring for an ill relative according to his LinkedIn profile, and I don’t imagine this was meant with any sense of malice. But I do think it displays terrible timing and a naïve lack of judgement. From the way I read it, it appears his colleagues in Brisbane have gathered together their hard-to-fill engineering roles, determined that the fact he was there in September means he has “earned his stripes through the aftershocks”, and has the right angle to post on their behalf.

This is not helpful at this time. This is an attempt to generate commercial gain for your business, thinly disguised as offering a helping hand to Cantabrians keen to escape with their families. If it’s too early for the Crusaders, it is too early for Manpower Professional.

I have a couple of other quick observations on this. Firstly that half the city is still without power so quite how the Brisbane office of Manpower think potential candidates will have the means, never mind the will, to even read this job posting is beyond me. Secondly, Christchurch is in ruins. The city is smashed and from what I can see from the news the famous Mainland spirit has taken a beating too. I think that in time there will certainly be many Cantabrian engineers looking for pastures new with their families, but right now and for the coming months their skills and abilities are going to be crucial in helping the city recover.

And what of the Manpower Professional office in Christchurch itself? This office is consistently vying with South Auckland for the top performing branch in New Zealand. What would these guys make of this attempt, by their own colleagues “across the ditch”, to lure skilled engineers away from the disaster zone their city has become?

I listened to Mayor Bob Parker on the news last night talking about the need to behave with dignity and respect at this difficult time. Obviously that message hasn’t made it as far as Brisbane yet.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Paul Leacock says:

    Hi Jon,

    I agree with your comments & for me this comes down to organizational culture & values – I wonder if this consultants manager knew they were going to post this ad?

    Interesting culture Manpower Professional are driving here?!

  • Matt Gear says:

    Hi all,
    Apologies if anyone was offended by the timing of this ad. May I also add that this was not a team effort. The advert has been removed in light of the sensitivities around timing. In terms of culture and values, my main aim was to make people aware of a way out, if they were looking. I act in the best interests of candidates.

  • Ben Young says:

    Hi Jon.

    I also agree with your comments. As a consultant operating in the construction / engineering / property space (and someone who was also there for the 7.1 quake) I too saw an opportunity when this aftershock struck Canterbury – not an opportunity to profit from others misery but an opportunity to help the people and the city of Christchurch. I offered my services at no charge to IPENZ to assist in gathering the required professionals to help with whatever needs doing down there.

    I have family and friends down there whose homes and therefore lives are in ruin, but they are alive and that is all that matters right now. Christchurch needs all the skilled people it can get. Rather than sucking the city dry for a quick buck today maybe Manpower professional could have the heart to help with the recovery effort and the future rebuild of the city. Maybe they could help us to lift the spirit of Cantabrians by getting behind them and directing resources at the city.

    As an aside playing on people’s fear to recruit is probably not the approach clients are looking for. My clients certainly wouldn’t appreciate it.

    Let’s hope this was just a foolish mistake. Let’s keep an eye on the response from Manpower. The silver lining may be that they now decide to contribute significant resources (at no cost!) into helping get the skilled people Christchurch needs to rebuild the city.

  • Kerry Kirwan says:

    Hi Jon
    I had a client suggest I do the same for them (advertise for sales reps wanting to relocate to Auckland) less than an hour ago!. I made the same comments as you had done, and said that we would probably be viewed by others as insensitive and crass.
    Thanks for the timely reminder.

  • Renny Hayes says:

    Personally, I think it’s poor judgement, albeit for the best of intentions. I also agree with Paul Leacock in wondering if Matt’s manager knew and condoned the advert. That would reveal whether it’s a warped culture in the team/organisation or just a moment of individual, unfettered madness.

    However, perhaps the real truth lies in the response levels (and I take your point about the difficulties involved). If there really had been an overwhelming flood of applicants grateful for the lifeline, would we all still have taken this moral high ground?

    The fact that the advert has been pulled suggests otherwise…

  • Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director, Manpower Australia & New Zealand says:

    Manpower Professional apologises for the poor judgement shown by our consultant, and for any distress it caused. Several of our own team members have been affected by the earthquake, and we are providing them with the support they need. As a Kiwi myself, my heart goes out to all those who have been impacted by the crisis.

    In times like this, sometimes people make the wrong decision, and our consultant did so in this case. Manpower Professional’s leadership team has addressed the matter internally with him. Now, we are focused on getting on with the job of helping Christchurch and its people recover and rebuild.

    We take this job seriously. I’m flying to Christchurch again tomorrow, with the purpose of supporting our team and getting an on-the-ground understanding of how Manpower can provide practical assistance in the recovery. We’ve been assisting the region since the September earthquake, sourcing skilled people, locally and from overseas, for the reconstruction effort. Obviously, we’ll now need to ramp up these activities to cope with the latest events.

    Everyone in the Manpower team is committed to helping our friends and colleagues in Christchurch, and we’ll continue to provide all the resources and support they need.

  • Patrice Wilkin says:

    As a recruiter currently in Chch and now having been through BOTH earthquakes (and luckily lived to tell the tale), I am absolutely speechless that someone could have posted such an ad.

  • Aaron Dodd says:

    This is truly appalling. Next I’d expect Manpower to be trawling through the obituaries to identify forthcoming job vacancies.

  • Mike Watson says:

    As a Consultant of 25 years and who saw bulidings bombed in London by the IRA this is the most disgusting advert I have ever seen in my life. If this Consultant worked for me he would not have a job on Monday.

  • Ayesha says:

    Whilst I myself thought that placing the add was slightly insensitive at a time like this, I was taken aback when right after reading this story, a woman from Christ Church responded to one of my generic ad’s, specifically requesting to find work in Australia in hopes of relocating her family away from NZ and the after shocks of the Earth Quake.

  • Sarah Wise says:

    As we know from the first earthquake it takes some time before even the thought of rebuliding the city and employing engineers etc takes place. In the meantime, why not give them the opportunity to earn some good dollars, support their families and miss the next 1000 aftershocks.

  • I do not know if this is a red flag or not… Manpower is very vital to businesses!