What Does The Manufacturing Industrys Skill Shortage Mean For You 673 6050445 0 14108922 1000

​The manufacturing and construction industries are facing a shortage of skilled labourers to fill certain roles. This makes it a positive situation for those who have the right qualifications and experience to take on construction and manufacturing jobs, and a good opportunity for anyone looking to enter the industries to consider upskilling. We take a look at the effect technology has had on this situation, and how upskilling or retraining could put you in a better position to make the most of the jobs Tradestaff has available in these areas.

Technology's effect on a changing job market

At the World Economic Forum held last month in Davos, Switzerland, one of the topics the discussion focussed on was the effect technology was having on jobs, according to the New Zealand Herald. John Kerry, then US Secretary of State, told the forum that rather than trade and globalisation, it is technological advances and automation that are leading to job losses, the Telegraph reports.

There is still a lack of candidates to fill roles in several industries, including engineering and building.

However, as the New Zealand Herald points out, jobs that are overtaken by technology are replaced by new roles – when the industrial revolution reduced the need for farm labourers, it increased the opportunities for factory work, for example. Rather than take jobs, technological developments change the types of jobs available.

What this leads to, though, is a job market that is more heavily weighted towards skilled jobs rather than unskilled labour, and can lead to shortages if the workforce does not have the necessary abilities or experience. 

Skilled workers are in high demand in the construction, trade and manufacturing industries.

Skilled labour shortages already hitting New Zealand manufacturing

The construction and manufacturing industries here in New Zealand are already experiencing a shortage of skilled labour. Kim Campbell, Northern Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), told Radio New Zealand that despite an increase in skilled migrant workers entering the country, there was still a lack of candidates to fill roles in several industries, including engineering and building.

"Our members are still complaining about getting the right skills at the right time," Campbell said. "In spite of all the migration, there is still a shortage in certain areas."

Kevin van der Merwe, National Sales Manager at Ullrich Aluminium, told Stuff.co.nz that his company was struggling to find staff, and that other manufacturers were finding themselves with the same problem. According to van der Merwe, there is a "generational gap of skills" between the inexperienced school leavers who are new to the industry and the people at the ends of their careers who are looking to retire.

The construction industry's shortages are largely due to the intense building taking place in Christchurch and Auckland, and this has the follow-on effect of increased demands on manufacturers who are supplying the build. 

As Scoop.co.nz reported earlier this month, New Zealand could face a crisis over the coming years as we struggle to cope with skilled labour shortages. While international migrant workers can ease some of the load, New Zealand is effectively competing with the rest of the world to attract these needed labourers.

However, while international recruits can and should solve some of the skills shortage, another avenue to address the problem is a focus on training and upskilling within New Zealand.

By training and upskilling you can help address the shortage of qualified labour.

The benefits of upskilling for labour job candidates

As people shift from single-job careers towards a working life spent moving between employers and roles, having skills and qualifications relevant to your industry becomes even more important. Fiona Kingsford, chief executive of industry training organisation Competenz, says that across industries, more and more employers are looking for higher skill levels from their potential workers. She argues that training is important both for younger workers entering into these industries and for older workers who want their skills and experience to remain relevant in a technologically developing workplace.

By gaining skills,you put yourself in a strong position to take advantage of the available job opportunities.

"It's imperative that we see learning as part of a continuum to be developed and enhanced over an employee's lifetime," Kingsford said. "With changes in technology and automation ever increasing, so too is the level of skills required in the workplace – and the speed at which we update these skills, in order to remain employable."

By gaining skills that are needed in the industries, either by retraining or on-the-job learning, you put yourself in a strong position to take advantage of the available job opportunities. Tradestaff can help you do this; our business is pairing job seekers with employers, making connections that best suit candidates and companies alike. The current labour market has no shortage of unskilled labour jobs available, and Tradestaff is always looking for candidates to take on these roles. However, by increasing your skills and qualifications, you open yourself up to specialised roles.

To find out more or to put yourself forward for manufacturing, construction or trade jobs, please get in touch with your local Tradestaff branch today.