22 Nov 2011

NZ firms nervous about losing workers overseas

7:02 am on 22 November 2011

Manpower says companies are becoming increasingly nervous about losing workers as a result of a skills gap in New Zealand and overseas.

A survey of 655 companies by the recruitment firm has shown one in three are looking outside New Zealand to fill skill shortages.

That compares with 35% for Australian companies and 24% globally.

As a result, sales and marketing general manager Chris Riley says New Zealand companies are worried about losing workers, with one in two employers concerned at New Zealand workers heading overseas.

Mr Riley says some companies are already taking action to ensure they can retain employees and others need to follow suit.

He says they need to put in place plans to develop the capability of their staff so they can move into more skilled positions in the future.

Mr Riley says companies also need to be creative in providing incentives for those employees considering travelling overseas to remain.

He says the means developing a strategy to retain them through "training, development and learnings".

According to the survey, a quarter of New Zealand firms cite legal and visa requirements as the biggest obstacle to recruiting foreign workers.

It also found New Zealand employers think Australia and Britain are the biggest threats to New Zealand's economic competitiveness.