Half of working-age Aucklanders born outside NZ
Half of working-age Auckland residents were born overseas but employer groups say the figure isn’t cause for concern.
One of the draft versions of the Auckland Economic Development Strategy says “Auckland’s immigrant population forms a large part of our workforce, with one in every two working age residents born overseas.”
According to the 2006 census 37% of Aucklanders were born overseas, including 45.5% of the working-age population, which is projected to have increased since then.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett says, “At its root, it’s an issue of competitiveness.
“If a company has a skills gap and a migrant worker is the best person to fill that gap, then the employer who is most willing to employ and engage with that worker will be more competitive.
“If challenges do occur, there needs to be a collective will to be proactive and make the best use of the employee’s skills and talents, and systems to integrate them in to the business.”
He says employers need to be “holistic” and look beyond accent or language barriers to examine the overall value an employee is delivering to an organisation.
“Businesses are operating in an increasingly diverse market place and having that diversity reflected in your workforce increases your competitive advantage.”
One quote from a recent employer of three people in the chamber’s Migrant Work Experience Programme said: “Effectively one of the biggest problems is people’s perceptions of migrants and they just don’t get past them.”
Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services manager David Lowe says one of the issues with new migrants is around work history, which can be hard to verify.
“I think when you take on anybody you do want to check out their track record – if it’s hard to check out their track record that’s an issue for them in terms of getting employment.
“Getting that first job is quite difficult for them.”