Date posted: 26/05/2022

Attracting talent to regional New Zealand

A new report offers practical insights and ideas on how regional New Zealand can attract top talent.

In brief

  • The unemployment rate in New Zealand is at its lowest rate in 15 years
  • Members based in the regions provided insights on how to overcome the challenge of attracting and retaining talent
  • Report shows that regional employers must be flexible, creative and “think outside the box”

The post-pandemic war for talent means that practices and businesses across regional New Zealand must come up with creative solutions to attract and retain talent if they want to compete with bigger cities and the pent-up demand for working overseas.

Our new report, Attracting Talent to the Regions of Aotearoa New Zealand, has found a six-hour workday, job sharing and a better work-life balance are some of the ways employers are dealing with this talent brain-drain.

Member employers from Whangārei to Invercargill provided insights into the report, sharing ideas about how to overcome the perennial challenge of attracting and retaining the right talent to regional areas.

The report recognises that competition has never been higher for top talent. Stats NZ data shows unemployment is at its lowest rate in 15 years, on top of net migration outflow. As a result, regional employers need to respond with creative solutions to tackle the skills shortage.

One regional business introduced a six-hour workday but still pays employees for 7.5 hours. The business reports that employees are now more efficient, productivity is up, and they have a waiting list of prospective employees.

Members that contributed to the report also called for more partnerships with schools and universities to increase knowledge of rural opportunities – and of rural life itself.

Other ideas to attract and retain talent in the regions included offering relocation allowances, community sponsorships, considering older employees who may have previously retired, traineeships for school leavers, paid internships and providing top-class IT and a modern work environment. A genuine culture of flexibility was also flagged as a must-have.

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