Skill shortages are becoming widespread across Australia and New Zealand, especially in key industries such as construction, health, engineering and mining, it is claimed.

Both countries are struggling to fill key skilled positions in certain sectors, according to Jason Diggs, sales director for international removals firm Anglo Pacific which also offers a dedicated job search service.


‘Although requirements for Christchurch’s rebuild are well documented, skill shortages exist across Australia and New Zealand. Currently 60% of our export business goes to these two nations and I suspect that figure will rise as 2014 unfolds,’ Diggs explained.

In December, an Australian business lobby group urged the federal government to increase its migrant intake of 190,000 for 2013/2014 to 220,000 for 2014/2015 to cover growing skill shortages.

‘While up-skilling our current workforce remains a priority, a larger skilled migration programme will be necessary to manage the current situation and to assist in smoothing the path to future growth,’ said Innes Willox, chief executive of The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group.)

He pointed out that there are skill shortages in sectors such as mining, engineering, infrastructure and health. With the property market also experiencing an upturn, further shortages are expected to emerge in residential and commercial construction.

In a survey carried out by Ai Group, 68% of responders in the construction sector reported difficulty in hiring skilled labour in the six months to September 2013.

The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency predicts that Australia will need 2.8 million workers with higher skilled qualifications by 2025. Some analysts say that there are not enough skilled Australians to fill all the jobs.

‘Skilled workers, from the UK in particular, are preferred by Australia for their economic contribution,’ said Diggs. He pointed out that Immigration minister Scott Morrison said recently that skilled workers are key drivers of successful integration into society.

Dani Malone, communications and media manager for The Migration Institute of Australia, a partner of Anglo Pacific, believes it is an exciting time to move to Australia. ‘A new government has been at the helm since September 2013 and is actively encouraging and supporting the migration of skilled individuals and families,’ said Malone.

‘Of the 190,000 places allocated, the vast majority, 128,550, are reserved for skilled migrants and there are a further 60,885 places for family migrants who are sponsored by family members already in Australia,’ Malone added.

There are also opportunities in New Zealand due to a major property and construction boom, described as the biggest for 40 years. New homes are needed in Auckland and in Christchurch where the post-earthquake rebuild is under way. Also, as New Zealand’s population increases, long term skills shortages are also evident in areas such as health and social services, engineering and education.

‘It is not only the 100,000 homes that need rebuilding in Christchurch, but there’s also an immediate need for 30,000 in Auckland as there hasn’t been sufficient houses built there since 2008. The demand is fuelled by population growth as a number of New Zealanders have moved back home following the financial crisis. Every skill associated with construction is on the shortages list,’ said June Ranson, vice chairman of the New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment (NZAMI.)

‘New Zealand is scheduled to have a sustained economic growth of 3% plus over the next few years. This is due mainly to the insurance money scheduled to be spent in the Christchurch rebuild which will ramp up from this year onwards,’ she explained.

‘The opportunities are definitely here in New Zealand from construction project managers to civil engineers, brick layers to carpenters and from stone masons to plasterers,’ she said but added that not all trades will qualify for residence as this depends on the qualifications and experience of the applicant. Interested parties should do their research and talk to approved licensed immigration advisors or immigration lawyers.