|No.177||16 December 2002||Essential Information on an Essential Issue|
of key events over the last few weeks.
STUCK AT 5%
CALL FOR WAGE RISE
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Index to Features
24 November 2002
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created as British film producers contract to develop five feature films projects in NZ.
The 53,000 foreign students in NZ may be responsible for creating up to 16,000 jobs according to Andrew Holloway, director of the International Office of Auckland University. Holloway says that theses jobs are not only in educational services but are reflected in increased car sales, real estate and tourism.
The government says it plans to change immigration policy to require people applying under the "general settlers" category to have increased English language competency. Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel says the change is necessary as migrants with insufficient English language skills face increased employment barriers and other social problems.
Minister of Education Trevor Mallard says new efforts will be made to entice expatriate teachers to come back to NZ to teach.
The number of foreign fee-paying students on school roles, and the number from any one country, may be restricted according to Trevor Mallard. And foreign fee-paying students of primary school age who plan to live here without their parents may not be allowed visas. Theses are among the issues that will be included in a review of international education policy due to be in place by 2004.
A severe shortage of tradespeople is resulting in significant delays of many construction projects in the North Island. South Wairarapa council planner Ross Smith says the shortage of skilled trades people is due to the agricultural boom and the demise of the apprenticeship system.
25 November 2002
Two Hawkes Bay men become the first modern apprentices in the retail industry.
Nearly 500 secondary school teaching vacancies have been listed in the Education Gazette. This number is expected to increase to about 700 by the time school finishes and the majority of staff resignations are in.
No more than 15% of university electrical engineering students in NZ remain in the country after graduation. At the University of Auckland, 80% to 90% of electrical engineering students are not NZ citizens and a good many would seem to disappear overseas after graduation.
26 November 2002
Large and medium size NZ companies are intending to hire more workers in the next six months according to a TMP Job Index Survey. The greatest increases are expected in engineering, IT, the health sector, education, law and accountancy.
Fonterra says the net number of redundancies from the restructuring of the Wellington-based NZMP will be 200. Another 220 positions are being moved from Wellington to other North Island locations. Fonterra will continue have about 100 staff in Wellington.
28 November 2002
The National Party proposes that new immigrants be restricted from collecting social security benefits for their first two years in NZ. The party would also like to see the number of immigrants reduced to 1% of the population per annum (last year it was 1.5%) and limiting the number of refugees to about 1,000 per annum.
29 November 2002
Lifting the required English language competency requirement would represent an enormous threat to the NZ international education sector according to Patrick Ibbertson of the Association of Private Providers of English Language.
Rising Auckland house prices are resulting in low-income people being unable to afford to live in areas they have traditionally lived in. This group includes middle and working-class young people. Auckland University planning lecturer Tracey Austin says the rising cost of housing will result in wage inflation in Auckland as people need higher incomes to afford to live near their work. Austin also says that traffic congestion will continue to increase as people are pushed, by housing costs, to live farther away from their work.
30 November 2002
Minister of Education Trevor Mallard warns there is the potential for a serious shortage of English teachers and English has now been added to the list of subjects attracting a $10,000 teacher training scholarship.
A NZ version of The Real Game, a careers game developed in Canada, is to be made available to NZ secondary schools from next year. The game is to be played by classrooms of 12 to 14 year olds to get them thinking about the importance of the world of work.
Whangarei teenager Mike McGough becomes the first fully qualified modern apprentice in agriculture.
1 December 2002
Engineering students at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki are being offered jobs before they complete their courses. Trades and Industry head Phil Stacy says the majority of engineering students on two-year courses have left after their first year.
A scheme to attract skilled immigrants to settle in Wellington, rather than in Auckland, is to be trialed over the next 18 months. The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency and the NZ Immigration Service are co-ordinating their efforts to promote Wellington as an attractive location for immigrants to establish themselves.
The Post Primary Teachers Association predicts severe teacher shortages in the subjects of Maths, Science, Technology, Maori, Music and Physical Education. The union says that this past year 10% of schools had combined or cancelled classes or enrolled students with the Correspondence School for subjects they could not find qualified people to teach.
Japan's unemployment rate rises to 5.5%, equaling the highest rate since World War Two. The Japanese workforce participation is now at 61.3%.
The US financial industry in Wall Street, New York, has collectively cut 75,100 jobs over the past 18 months.
2 December 2002
IBM is to lay-off 140 staff at its software development facility in Petone.
3 December 2002
A Bill introducing a statutory 4th week of annual leave for workers goes before a parliamentary select committee. This is seen as a step towards a legislated four weeks of annual leave, a change the government has said it would not entertain during this term.
Australian-based fund manager and insurer AMP will cut 2,000 jobs, primarily in Britain. AMP New Zealand says there will be no job cuts here.
4 December 2002
The financial services union Finsec launches Get A Life!, a campaign aimed at addressing the issues of overwork, excessive hours and an affirmation that workers have a life beyond work.
Minister of Womens Affairs Ruth Dyson launches The Status of Women in NZ 2002 which describes NZ progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Dyson also presents Towards an Action for NZ Women, a discussion document which she says is the start of creating a plan for improving the lives of women in NZ. The Ministry is working with the National Council of Women and the Maori Women's Welfare League to develop and run consultation meetings on the action.
5 December 2002
A Taranaki truancy officer says that truancy among primary school children is largely due to poverty. Phil Tippins says that children are kept at home because parents cannot afford to send them to school with a packed lunch.
6 December 2002
The Child Poverty Action Group files a complaint with the Human Rights Commission that claims the Child Tax Credit discriminates against the children of beneficiaries and contravenes the Human Rights Act. CPAG argues that the Child Tax Credit of $15/wk per child should be paid to all low-income families. It is currently restricted to families who work in low-paying jobs.
The US unemployment rate reaches 6% for November, up from 5.7% in October.
8 December 2002
Recruitment manager Tony Cutting estimates the Wellington IT job market has shrunk to just over half the size it was in the mid-90s.
9 December 2002
The NZ Air Force base at Whenuapai will close over the next four years with 900 of the 1,085 jobs relocating to Ohakea.
10 December 2002
Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) reports that NZ has had 4 and a half years uninterrupted job expansion. Most of the new jobs have gone to people over 45 years old. Berl predicts that the job growth was likely to continue.
NZ job ad numbers declined last month but are at about the same level as this time last year.
United Airlines, the second largest air carrier in the world, files for bankruptcy. The insolvent company will continue to operate but will be temporarily protected from being forced to cash up in order to pay its creditors.
He says that staff shortages will, more than anything else, stop New Zealand growing past the 3.5 to 4% domestic growth it had recently peaked at. Thompson: “It is essential that the 107,000 unemployed are integrated into the workforce and immigration policy aligned to match demand...”
Source – New Zealand Herald 2 December 2002 “Labour shortage holds back growth” by Jillian Talbot
37% of firms (one in three) are having difficulty finding skilled labour.
19% of firms (one in five) are having difficulty finding unskilled labour. This is the highest recorded level since 1985.
12.5% of firms (one in eight) report that finding labour is their main constraint on expanding their businesses.
43% of manufacturers (one in two) say they are having difficulties finding skilled staff, and 22% (one in five) are having difficulty finding unskilled labour.
skill shortages are highest in the building sector, with 52% of building firms (one in two) finding it difficult to get skilled labour. As a result, finding labour is the main constraint on expansion for one in three building firms.
staff is hardest to find in the South Island.
Download (12 pg, 89 kb) from www.dol.govt.nz/PDFs/Skills%20Shortages%20-%20September%202002.PDF. (Not Current).
Source — QSBO: Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion September quarter, published 15 November 2002
or a black & white version from here
The report also points out that the labour force is getting more education and training within the workplace. Since 1998, the number of industry trainees has nearly doubled from 42,000 to 78,000 by June this year. In June, more than 3,200 apprentices were in training, and this number is expected to rise to 6,000 by the end of next year.
Source New Zealand Herald 28 November 2002 “Workers more skilled than ever: report” by Kevin Taylor;
UNEMPLOYMENT STILL PREDICTED TO REMAIN
Labour Market Outlook December 2002 published by the Department of Labour. Download (13 pg, 115 kb) from www.dol.govt.nz/PDFs/Labour%20Market%20Outlook%20-%20December%202002.pdf.(Not Current).
LETS LOOK AT WAGES
Source – New Zealand Herald 2 December 2002 “Labour shortage holds back growth” by Jillian Talbot; www.stuff.co.nz 20 November 2002 “Skills shortage spurs wage call”
TEACHER STAFF CRUNCH LOOMING
A growth in school rolls of about 3% next year is one reason for teacher shortages, but another is the continuing exodus of teachers from the profession. Between May 2001 and May 2002, 1,559 secondary school teachers left their jobs, blaming stress, the workload and the opportunity for better pay overseas. Norman LaRocque from the Education Forum believes that pay is one of the main factors contributing to the teacher shortages. LaRocque: “We need a more decentralised pay system that allows for teacher pay to refelect differences in teacher labour markets not just across regions, but also across subject areas, levels of education and for hard-to-staff schools.”
Ronnie Davie, from the NZ Association for the Teaching of English, says that English teaching has become an increasingly marketable commodity and overseas recruitment agencies have taken a ruthless approach to attracting NZ teachers. She warns that local students will miss out on critical skills if replacement teachers cannot be found.
Incentives to get teachers back to NZ from overseas include international re-location grants of $5,000 for NZ teachers, and up to $3,000 for UK-trained teachers.
Sources – New Zealand Herald 26 November 2002 “Secondary schools face new-year staff crunch” by Dita De Boni; Sunday Star-Times 1 December 2002 “Schools struck by English teacher crisis” by Kim Knight; The Dominion Post 2 December 2002 “Some classes will have no teachers, PPTA warns” by Michelle Quirke
POLICE SHORTAGES AT BOILING POINT
In the meantime, the existing Auckland police officers are demanding more money for working in New Zealand’s most expensive city, and the Police Association is warning of a “boil-over” if there is no government response by March. More than 1,000 police and their families recently protested at a South Auckland rally, saying they wanted a special living allowance as well as a $2,500 payment in recognition of them staying in the job. The rally is only the third time that police have mobilised over their pay and conditions.
Source – Sunday Star-Times 3 November 2002 “Auckland faces crippling shortage” by Guyon Espiner; The Dominion Post 2 December 2002 “Auckland police at “boiling point” by Tracy Watkins; New Zealand Herald 2 December 2002 “Police seething over crippling staff shortages” by Scott MacLeod;
70 BRITISH GPS TO EASE SHORTAGES
A recent study in the NZ Medical Journal blames the shortages on poor pay, high workloads, medical and social isolation, lack of holiday or study leave cover, limited career options for their partners and school opportunities for their children.
The shortages also mean that doctors are wary of going to rural areas, fearing they will be trapped into long hours with little time off. Many have found it too difficult or expensive to hire locums. (At present there are only two full-time locums operating in the North Island and two in the South Island, with about 20 casual relievers).
Source – New Zealand Herald 25 October 2002 “70 British GPs to ease shortage”
FASHION GLAMOUR FACES SKILLS CRISIS
But the New Zealand Herald reports that while we have a steady stream of designers with flair and creativity launching forth from training institutes ... but few of them know how to sew, cut or make patterns. Skill shortages are emerging in the sector, complicated by the fact that few school leavers view sewing and cutting as an attractive career option.
Angela Hood of Lewis Design says there’s a definite shortage of people on the ground like sample machinists. Hood: “The people who do the production are the heart of the business. There’s plenty of CMT [cut, make and trim] people and people who can sit behind a computer, but you have to be able to put the garment together...”
While some older companies remain, the boutiques leading the recovery are mainly young entrepreneurs. Most of these firms are less than 10 years old and employ fewer than 10 staff. Many make no garments themselves and rely on CMT contractors and outworkers.
Finz was launched in September to help form a united front in addressing the sector’s concerns. Blomfield says the skill shortages are not yet severe but could hamper progress if not quickly addressed. And with growth averaging between 15-25% a year, the potential is huge. Blomfield: “I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations, but we are seeing success stories in the fashion sector all the time. If the infrastructure is in place, we can go further and further ...”
Source New Zealand Herald 19 October 2002 “skills crisis at fashions cutting edge” by Geoff Cumming
FREEZING WORKER JOBS THAT CAN’T BE FILLED
Lynch says the skill shortages have happened during the transformation from “old style frozen carcass commodity trade” to an “added value food business”. A decade ago, 90% of meat exports were frozen carcasses. Now, 94% are added value cut and boned processed produce.
Lynch concedes that because of rapid change in the business, the meat industry has been overwhelmed by the need for new skills and was facing problems: “ The advanced processing in the industry requires higher skills and we are working on getting government support to get those skills up to where we want them...”
Source The Dominion Post 26 October 2002 “South Island looking overseas for workers” by Mathew Loh Ho-Sang
Source National Business Review 1 November 2002 “skills shortage hampers top export sector” by Ian Warrington
SHORTAGES FORCE DELAYS IN BUILDING AND ENGINEERING
Source – The Dominion Post 25 November 2002 “Skills shortages delays building” by Bernie Napp
A HITMAN OR A PLUMBER?
The UK government estimates that 400,000 new building workers will need to be trained over the next five years, simply to maintain the status quo. That’s 80,000 per year, and a huge gap from the 2,500 building apprentices that were signed up this year. The plumbing industry alone needs 22,000 new recruits over that period, and is currently attracting only 800 a year.
Source New Statesman 25 November 2002 “Why you can’t find a plumber” by Jeff Howell