Tens of thousands new jobs are set to be created in the construction industry in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2012 to cope with the city being rebuilt following two destructive earthquakes last year.

New research by the Department of Labour suggests that around 24,000 construction related workers will be needed while other estimates put the figure at 48,000. Already hundreds of jobs have been created for people working on rebuilding roads.

Demand for construction related workers, especially carpenters, joiners and plasterers, will be particularly strong in 2012 according to the latest report from the Department.

Business professionals, including law and accountancy firms, are also now seeing increased demand. The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants indicated that many of its Christchurch members had hired additional staff or were considering doing so due to the need to catch up on work delayed by the earthquakes and assisting clients with insurance claims.

Other jobs that have already been created are associated with assessing Earthquake Commission (EQC) claims and demolition of buildings in Christchurch's CBD.

Depending on the pace of the recovery, and the emergence of damage information as claims are assessed, the estimated demand for workers could Demand is greatest for carpenters and joiners, painting trade workers, concreters, and plasterers. General labourers will also be in high demand.

There will also be an increased demand for workers in occupations that directly support the construction work such as clerks in administrative positions and business services staff, as well as across other sectors as economic activity picks up more broadly such as sales workers.

Vasantha Krishnan, general manager of the Labour and Immigration Research Centre said that overall the jobs outlook will improve over the next 12 months and some jobs will need to be filled by overseas skilled workers.

Already there have been recruitment drives in the UK, one in Manchester and one in London. According to Michelle Visser, Manpower New Zealand’s general manager, many jobs will suit younger or single people who are more likely to be attracted by the city’s outdoor lifestyle.

Professional services company Beca said about a third of the jobs are likely to be permanent, and a third contracts.
‘For the right people, it's not a hard sell. There is a challenge to respond to see the city back up on its feet,’ said Craig Price, Beca's South Island regional manager.
Debbie Grenfell, managing director of Kelly Services NZ, said the company had noted significant increases in job advertisements for construction workers, adding that overseas workers are being brought in to fill positions as soon as they had the required visas.

Victoria Robertson, Kelly Services marketing manager, said the salary benefits of moving to Christchurch would definitely play a role, as some people looked to improve their conditions and career opportunities.