Do we really need high immigration to fill jobs?

Guest Post

I am sure that some employers really are struggling to find good workers, particularly those wanting someone to do manual labour in the regions. Those employers looking for highly skilled workers are probably also finding it tough going.

However, most of the workers we are allowing into New Zealand are not particularly highly skilled and they are going the main cities, particularly Auckland. I find it difficult to believe that the vast majority of jobs those immigrants are taking cannot be filled by Kiwis. I think employers are often too fussy and want someone with a perceived perfect fit for the job they are advertising. And dare I say it, I think employers often stingy and don?t want pay for experience but also don’t want to do any training of the applicant. I certainly know it is difficult for a graduate with a reasonable degree to get a decent job and many end up working in call centres for a few years at least. ??

In my opinion there is an over reliance on interviewing to choose job applicants when interviewing has been proven to be one of the worst ways of picking someone. Yet flub the interview and not only are you out the door but the HR people put you straight into the discard pile should you apply again at the same place. One study showed people not picked in an interview were at least as successful in their subsequent work as those picked. Extroverts tend to do well in interviews but can spend much of their time on the job talking and not working!

I saw Michael Stiassny interviewed on Q+A last week about about the Fonterra CEOs $8 mill pay packet. The interviewer talked about having to pay big bucks to attract suitably qualified applicants and Stiassny made an interesting comment that we often overlook Kiwis because we know them too well and they might have done something a little questionable a few years ago – as compared to foreigners with their shiny new CVs who we don’t really know at all!

Sounds like Stiassny has noticed the foreigners filling jobs are often not all they’re cracked up to be. That has certainly been my experience with professional jobs in places I have worked. While some immigrants have been really good, and so ended up not staying long in NZ before moving on, typically they have been underwhelming and in some cases the employer has been downright duped. I had one incompetent workmate where we found out afterwards she had been sacked from her previous job overseas and had been unemployed for six months when my employer took her on. Others while well qualified really struggled to write reports that didn’t have to be completely reworked by other people (sometimes me).

So would many employers really suffer hugely if immigration was cut back substantially? I very much doubt it. In my opinion many employers and recruiters have gotten far too lazy in their approach to hiring and could do with a good boot up the backside!


-name withheld by request