12 Key Industries
Key areas of job growth
from The Jobs Letter No.136 / 14 December, 2000
by Simon Collins
Although 177,300 New Zealanders are still officially "jobless," many companies can't find
Kiwis with the right skills. Projections by Berl economists for the Maori Employment and
Training Commission suggest that the country can generate between 200,000 and 327,000 new jobs
by 2011 provided New Zealanders acquire the skills for the jobs.
Key areas for growth are :
The biggest job growth in the past five years was in the prosaic-sounding category of
"service and sales workers," up 46,100 (21 per cent). A driving force was tourism. In 1995, says
the Tourist Industry Association, 118,000 people worked in hotels, restaurants, shops and
other tourist services. With global tourism growing 6 per cent a year, the association forecasts
178,000 jobs by 2010.
Greg Stanaway of Spectrum International says it is hard to find chefs and food and
beverage supervisory staff. "The industry needs to do a lot more training themselves," he says.
Biotechnology - creating new products by manipulating biological processes - is as yet
small-scale. But Dr John Kernohan, who heads Uniservices, Auckland University's commercial
unit, says biotech and medicine are now "what drives science."
An Infometrics report for the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification by the pro-GM
Life Sciences Network estimates that 20,000 extra jobs could be created across the economy by
2010 if genetic engineering of plants and animals lifts the rate of increase in farming productivity
from its present 2.5 per cent a year to 4 per cent.
Dr William Rolleston, who chairs the network, says the country is short of graduates in
molecular biology and bioprocessing, but most universities are beginning to offer such courses.
- INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
There is no secret to what is driving the second-fastest growing occupational category:
technicians, up by 28,200 jobs (15 per cent) in the past five years. The Information Technology
Association reckons that last year alone, the number of staff in computer consultancy and
maintenance, telecommunications and other IT work jumped 10 per cent to 33,010.
"The indications are that growth will be in the region of 15 per cent both this year and next
year," says director Jim Neill. Mr Neill and executives from three local IT firms are just back
from India, where they spoke to more than 600 IT-qualified workers to fill a labour shortage caused
by "inadequate" training of New Zealanders.
Craig Parsons of Enterprise Staff Consultants says the biggest shortages are in web design
using Java and C++ programming languages, with Java contract programmers commanding pay
rates of up to $100 an hour.
Winemaking and vineyards employed only 1548 people in the 1996 census, but they're
growing fast. Wine Institute chief executive Philip Gregan predicts a two-thirds increase in output from
60 million litres now to 100 million by 2010. Exports are forecast to grow from one-third to
two-thirds of production, from $168 million to $375 million by 2005. This is one area that finds
no trouble attracting trainees, with wine courses at Lincoln University and at polytechnics
in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Nelson.
- FOOD TECHNOLOGY
Food and beverages earn 37.5 per cent of our overseas income from goods and services. In
1992, an industry plan estimated that if they could lift exports by 90 per cent by 2002, they could
create 28,000 extra jobs.
But food technologists, who are needed to create new products, are drying up. Professor
Ray Winger, head of food technology at Massey University, says Massey's food tech intake
has dropped from almost 100 in 1994 to around 40.
John Williams of recruitment agency Lawson Williams says there is growing demand for
food technologists in the dairy industry, convenience snackfoods, soft drink companies,
ice-cream manufacturers and other food businesses. "The demand is outgrowing the supply."
As New Zealanders live longer, care of the aged and the sick employs growing numbers
of professionals, who increased by 26,700 people (14 per cent) in the past five years. "The
demand is going to increase as the baby-boomers progress through to retirement," says Career
Services chief executive Lester Oakes. "It will affect a range of services home gardening, home
cooking, anything that supports an older population."
Josephine Wallis of Geneva Health International says that while there is no shortage of
general nurses, it is hard to find nurses for intensive care, operating rooms and dialysis.
Psychiatrists, radiologists, rural general practitioners and emergency medicine specialists are also in
While trades as a whole were virtually static in the past five years with just 700 extra jobs
(0.4 per cent), boatbuilders increased their job numbers by 20 per cent last year alone, to 6000.
"Total turnover was $640 million, of which $250 million was exports, which is a 300 per
cent increase since 1994," says Peter Busfield of the Boating Industries Association. He says
the workforce could double to 12,000 by 2010 and establish itself as a permanent symbol of
quality New Zealand production. "It's at the BMW/Mercedes end of the industry that we are
well known: Swiss watches, French champagne, New Zealand boats."
Only a lack of skilled workers constrains growth. Sensation Yachts managing director
Ivan Erceg, says the answer is to retrain people with related skills such as builders, car assemblers
and Fisher & Paykel workers. He plans to open a training facility early next year.
- FOREST PRODUCTS
Maturing wood available for harvesting in New Zealand forests will almost double from
18 million cubic metres this year to 30 million by 2006. The Forest Industries Council says if
we invest $6.5 billion in new processing facilities in the next 15 years, we could boost jobs in
forestry and processing from 21,350 now to 60,000 by 2025.
Forestry has adopted the new Modern Apprentices scheme, under which young people aged 16
to 21 can complete apprenticeships with a succession of employers if their first employer can't
keep them. Forest Industries Training chief executive John Blakey has signed up 70 Modern
Apprentices so far and his target is 200 a year.
Farming jobs barely changed in the past five years - up by 400 (0.3 per cent). But Berl
forecasts that farm employment will grow from 150,500 at present to between 163,000 and 175,000
by 2011. Farmers are shifting from sheep to more intensive dairying. Dairy farm employment
rose from 31,623 to 35,271 between 1991 and 1996 and the growth continues.
But agricultural graduates from Massey and Lincoln have dwindled from 240 in 1987 to
just under 150. "Whereas farming used to be an art passed down from generation to generation,
now it's a science, " says Chris Kelly of the Dairy Board. "Many of these farms are
multimillion-dollar businesses and require significant management skills to run them. "We are looking
at funding a chair at one or more of the universities, providing scholarships for universities,
offering money for post-doctoral work and launching an educational programme at schools to lift
the profile of agriculture at school level."
So far only about 600 farmers have gone organic. But Bio-Gro technical manager Seager
Mason says the number is growing by 20 to 30 per cent a year, and more than 5 per cent of
kiwifruit exports are now organic - grown by natural methods without artificial pesticides.
Organic farmers project growth in exports from $60 million to $500 million by 2005. The
boom is reversing a decline in horticulture student numbers around the country, with organic
horticulture courses now available at Bay of Plenty and Christchurch Polytechnics and by
correspondence through the Open Polytechnic.
- CALL CENTRES
They don't figure anywhere in the statistics, but Trade NZ inward investment manager
Gary Langford says New Zealand now has at least 300 call centres employing 16,000 people.
Call centres are growing internationally by 20 per cent a year.
"Our niche is that we can serve the night shifts of the UK," says his call centres manager,
Dr Hanna Frederick. While Britain sleeps, New Zealanders handle calls from customers of
British companies around the world.
The film industry is definitely the glamour one of this "dynamic dozen," and one of the
few where training has increased to keep up with demand. In the year to March 1999, film and
TV production spending was up 47 per cent to $307 million, with foreign exchange earnings up
68 per cent to $155 million. And that was before Lord of the Rings and Vertical Limit.
The industry employed 7730 people last year, and Film NZ chief executive Jane
Wrightson believes that number could double in five years. "To achieve that, we would have to achieve
a steady influx of the right foreign-based projects - not the small-budget,
in-and-out-in-a-week jobs, but some significant-budget feature films and perhaps a tele series or two."
Source New Zealand Herald 18 November 2000 "Twelve key industries that will propel New Zealand's economic growth"
by Simon Collins
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