The Year in Employment
Nicola Pohlen answers the Herald's questions regarding the year in employment.
Published in The New Zealand Herald Career Suppliment, Wednesday 10th August 2011.
It's been a tough 12 months - disasters, debt and a high dollar -how has this impacted on businesses and employees?
Client organisations have continued to use the tight economy as a reason to change business practices.
This has resulted in on-going restructures and small adjustments to refocus on doing better business. It has been about increasing productivity, doing more with less and making sure cost structures are in line with revenue levels. Overall the impact has been to create a more efficient organisation. This has had an influence on employees in many ways some of which include:
behaviours - leadership style and expectations; organisation structures - centralised or de-centralised, deep or flat; workforce composition - skills and flexibility.
Organisations are learning to operate effectively in a new post-recession environment and change is inherent across the board.
Is the Rugby World Cup an opportunity to tempt overseas Kiwis and international visitors to stay and help fill our skill shortage industries?
From an employment perspective the Rugby World Cup is an opportunity to demonstrate our global attitudes and behaviours as well as showing off our attractive lifestyle and amazing country.
If we do this well, returning Kiwis and international visitors cannot help but be impressed, take notice and investigate the possibility of relocating to join us. It is what happens after the Rugby World Cup that is key as those who attend try to convince their families and go through the process to get here. We need to make this simple and fast for our skill-shortage industries before the memory of our special country fades and they settle back into their usual routine.
Post budget there's been a lot of belt-tightening and a big slash to jobs in the Public Service - with that in mind what's happening regards salaries?
We have not seen a significant impact of the job losses in the Public Service across all business practices at Pohlen Kean. What we have seen is those coming out from some Public Sector roles have had to adjust their salary expectations as they transfer their skills to the commercial sector.
What's the best thing job-seekers can do to arm themselves in this competitive job market?
In this competitive job market, when looking for a new role, it is important to do so with a positive, lively attitude. If you find this hard as an individual, then surround yourself with people who will keep you on track and focussed with this frame of mind. Your career is one of the most important things in your life and you spend a lot of time doing it. Therefore, it is worth investing the effort to get it right.
Job seekers need to be energetic, understand themselves in terms of attributes, skills and goals, spend time researching opportunities, prepare a succinct résumé and targeted letter of application. At the job interview it should be your personality that shines and your knowledge gained from good planning and preparation. This same action orientation and positive perspective needs to flow through in all contact until you have secured the position. If you are a current job seeker, stop what you are doing, reflect on where you are up to and possibly you will need to go back and consider your career anchors before going forward.
What are your predictions for the year ahead in employment?
I believe the employment environment will remain similar to the last 12 months. We will have skills shortages in some areas, however, there is over-supply in others and there is still adjustment to be made.
There will be movement to and from NZ, this is healthy, and as we work more closely with Australia there will continue to be a flow throughout the region.
Organisations are keen to work with fewer people, keep the wages and salary bill the same, however, employ significant contributors. Good people who add value will always be in demand.
Companies will increase their use of contracting and temporary resources for specific projects, whilst keeping their permanent headcount down. In addition, smart organisations will capitalise on employee attitudes and be more lateral in transferring skills across functions.
The non-commercial sector will continue to behave more like the commercial sector and there will be more alignment in their culture and results.
Overall, we would optimistically take the view that everyone is focussing on doing better business, providing exceptional service and creating a high performing New Zealand.