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NZ will need more health, energy and finance staff - agency

Tuesday 17th May 2011

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New Zealand will require more workers with expertise in healthcare, infrastructure, financial services and green energy, says an international staff recruitment agency.

"Population, globalisation and technological advances will combine to influence the skills that will be most highly sought in New Zealand by 2030," said Jason Walker, the managing director of the agency, Hays.

In a report compiled with economic forecaster Oxford Economics - Creating Jobs in a Global Economy 2011-2030 - Hay said that the ageing population and its healthcare needs, anticipated vast spending on infrastructure in developing countries, continued growth and increasing sophistication of financial services and a shift toward green energy will boost demand for skilled professionals.

"Over the next 20 years New Zealand, like the rest of the ageing developed world, will likely become chronically short of health workers," Walker said .

Access to healthcare workers has become hotly debated this week as New Zealand immigration authorities were reported to have rejected the work permit applications of Filipino rest-home workers.

Worker Joselyn Ebuen said today that several migrant workers were denied permits last week, despite working 18-hour shifts following the earthquake when some of their New Zealand co-workers had to move out of the city.

And BUPA aged-care services chief executive Dwayne Crombie said authorities needed to recognise the difference between entry-level and experienced caregivers in assessing visa applications.

Walker said that an increasing number of elderly people - expected to rise by 446 million over the next two decades - would require countries to provide increasing numbers of staff to work in the healthcare industry or increase inward migration.

"As there is already a shortage of healthcare professionals worldwide, international migration may be controversial and require a coordinated response," he said.

Generally, the developing world would face a period of rapid industrialisation and infrastructure construction which will create a need for skilled and experienced workers currently unavailable in sufficient numbers domestically.

"New Zealand will need to find a way to maintain our competitive edge in key industries by investing in the future skills required against a backdrop of a smaller and older pool of workers," Walker said

Demand for financial sector workers would remain strong in New Zealand.

In the "green energy" sector, climate change would create jobs in development of such things as solar, wind and wave power, and in occupations needed to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

"In the short-term, this will include some increases in jobs to design, manufacture, install and operate the new renewable electricity-generating plants."

There was also likely to be significant demand for skilled labour in the construction and engineering sectors.

"This will require inward migration of highly-skilled temporary construction workers," Walker said. "These are likely to include architects, civil engineers and experienced trades people."

There should also be a lift in demand for more permanent skilled labour in the production of engineering and mechanical goods.



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