Happy New Year?
Nicola Pohlen answers the Herald's questions regarding the year ahead.
Published in The New Zealand Herald Career11 Suppliment, 22 January 2011.
2011: continued very slow recovery or a marked upswing in business confidence and hiring intentions? Why?
The sense that we get from talking to our clients is that they are experiencing a gradual recovery and, as a result, conservative but progressive business confidence. The impact of this on hiring intentions is noticeable with more activity. However, this is not necessarily about an increase in people numbers but rather the composition of the workforce in each organisation. Our client companies appear to be introducing skills for the new business environment, they are looking for ‘stars' with demonstrated successful careers who can add value. There is increased emphasis on attitudinal skills in addition to core technical ability.
If the economy strengthens, it will no doubt put upward pressure on salaries. Are New Zealand companies in a position yet to meet this demand, or will it speed the flow of people offshore?
It is a mixed market with regard to where there is pressure on remuneration levels and we see this continuing. To elaborate, the mid-level professional market continues to meet the demands of candidates wanting career progression. However, at more senior levels there has been a continuing adjustment to meet current market conditions and increased competition. Overall, companies are willing to pay for the skills they require and continue to seek increased productivity from individuals.
European woes: should New Zealand companies be worried by this?
The New Zealand employment market is influenced by the activities in European and other offshore markets. Companies that are subsidiaries of head offices in these countries are impacted which has a flow-on effect to their activities and, therefore, their ability to hire in New Zealand. From a candidate perspective, the increased interest of people keen to work in New Zealand, who are either New Zealanders returning or nationals wanting to immigrate, creates greater competition for roles in the New Zealand market.
Is the Government doing a good job of addressing the skills shortage? What could be improved?
For the majority of positions that Pohlen Kean handle we are not experiencing a skill shortage and as a result have not noticed whether the Government activity in this area is appropriate.
What are the biggest staffing challenges facing businesses this year?
The four key pillars of importance for HR this year are retaining and developing best employees; managing the demographics and globalisation of the workforce and organisational culture; managing change to enable an organisation to be innovative and flexible in meeting market demands; ensuring effective attraction and recruitment practices to create a strong pipeline of talent and favourable employer brand.