It’s a question I get asked a lot. With a distinct lack of available talent in the market, every hiring manager and their dog is hoping for a positive answer to that very question. The last couple of summers have seen a massive drop off in the amount of wide-eyed and bushy-bearded travelers coming through our borders. For those of you that started your recruitment career circa March 2020 gather round, and let Papa Burnett spin you a yarn from the big book of recruitment pre-Covid *Blows off dust, slides tiny glasses to the end of nose, delicately opens ancient book. A long time ago, in a country far, far away…long story short it was a decent time to recruit. You had Brits, folks from the Americas, and all across Asia flooding into Aotearoa with low salary expectations and the ability to start as soon as they sorted an IRD number. Sometimes you would sort their employment out before they even landed, resulting in congratulatory drinks in the sunshine with appreciative folks you’re yet to physically meet. We had it all! You pretty much only bussed or trained into work in December as you were bound to have some sort of event with clients, candidates, or the office which impaired your driving ability.
Cut to a particularly Baltic day up here in Auckland, I shudder to think how our compatriots are fairing further South. I also find myself thinking what’s going to bring people back over this side? Because back in the day heaps of folks would make the trip. In December 2019 before the world went to sh*t, Stats NZ stated that 528,219 hopeful souls came through the borders. In fact, if you take the last two Decembers away (of which a combined 12,065 came home) for the last 10 years the number of people coming over in Nov/Dec has increased year on year. Now, unfortunately, it feels like the reset button has been hit. You can’t really expect that the numbers will go straight back to normal or even return to the level at the start of the data gathering, I would be chuffed if this December looked like 10 years ago when 363,959 tourists arrived.
The government is doing what it can to help ease the demand for skilled labour. They’ve not only increased the age at which Brits can apply for working holiday visas but, the number of people allowed in under the Working Holiday Scheme will double to 12,000 for 2022/2023. Roughly 4000 working holidaymakers were already in the country and more than 21,000 have had applications approved to work in NZ. People that have traveled here that had most of their working holiday visas gobbled up by lockdown got a pretty positive email last month. WH visas that have an expiry date between 26 August 2022 and 31 May 2023, have been extended by 6 months. People are looking to make a move but how many of those are recruiters or placeable candidates? With any well-balanced and thoroughly researched article, we need to look at the downside and this can come in the form of a quick Google search “NZ is” which makes for some pretty sobering reading. Among the most popular and damning results are; so boring, too expensive, and broken. Not unlike the Auckland weather though, there is a spot of sunshine in the ominous and numerous black clouds. NZ is the best place to live.
NZ has been recently been named the 2nd most peaceful country in the world, a rank it has enjoyed since 2014. We’re second only to Iceland who if I’m being honest has been aggressively peaceful for way too long. We’re also one of the friendliest countries in the world, making sure our poppy doesn’t grow too tall we’re again playing second fiddle to those kiss arses in French Polynesia. This data came from the 2022 Readers Choice Awards from the esteemed Conde Nast Traveller. CN readers also had us at 10th overall for Best Countries in the world. To my point, I don’t think we’re going to get that flood of available candidates coming into the market this year sadly. However, all things point toward getting back on track in the not-too-distant future.