Showing flexibility in work options could help tackle the labor shortage

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Customer Service Coordinator Dani Baker works about 15 hours a week and loves having free time.

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Customer Service Coordinator Dani Baker works about 15 hours a week and loves having free time.

Being able to spend time with her three-year-old niece is gold for Blenheim student Dani Baker.

The 25-year-old is studying online part-time and also works 15 hours a week as a customer services coordinator.

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It’s a happy balance, and much better for its location than the traditional Monday through Friday hours.

“For my generation, it’s a bit like you just finish school and work 40 hours a week, and you don’t really get a life.

“You wake up, go to work, then come home and go to sleep.

“At the moment, we finish at 2 p.m., so that still gives me time to go to my date, to see my parents, I can go out with my niece … It’s just a lot better”, said Baker said.

Not all are so lucky. As New Zealand faces labor shortages, many skilled and experienced people in the community are underemployed because they cannot find an alternative to the 9 to 5 job.

Part of the working group that launched the investigation.  From left to right, Jessica Ettridge, Regional Labor Market Advisor for the Department of Social Development, Annie Percy, Vice President of Gray Power, Megan Rosene, Director of Straight Up NZ Immigration and Project Manager, and MBIE Autumn Faulkner.

Morgane Solignac / Stuff

Part of the working group that launched the investigation. From left to right, Jessica Ettridge, Regional Labor Market Advisor for the Department of Social Development, Annie Percy, Vice President of Gray Power, Megan Rosene, Director of Straight Up NZ Immigration and Project Manager, and MBIE Autumn Faulkner.

A task force from the private sector, government, community and industry is currently investigating employers in Marlborough on a way to tap into this talent pool through flexible work options.

These options include job sharing, remote working, the ability to negotiate increased or decreased hours or school working hours.

Project manager Megan Rosene, director of Straight Up NZ Immigration, said she has identified three different groups who might find flexible arrangements attractive.

“The new generation is not after 40 hours of work.

“Then we have the moms and dads who have to juggle a job with another parent, have to work with the kids and would like to work full time, but it doesn’t work with their family situation.

“There are also people who are trying to semi-retire or stay in the game but don’t want to work full time,” Rosene said.

Marlborough Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) co-chair Jennifer Moxon said the region has one of the highest labor market underutilization rates in the country.

In the September quarter, Marlborough’s underutilization rate was 13.2 percent compared to the national rate of 9.2 percent according to Statistics NZ data.

“Finding a way for this group of people to become more involved in the job market will be beneficial both for people who want more work, local industries who want more workers and our community more broadly,” said Moxon.

“The survey will help us understand what flexible working arrangements are already in place in the region, as well as the barriers to providing flexible working arrangements. “

The 10-question survey is open to all employers in Marlborough and takes approximately five minutes to complete online.

It will be analyzed by the working group who will share the main findings with Smart and Connected, industry, community and government agencies.

Rosene said they will develop core resources to share with employers to help them improve their ability to offer flexible workplaces.

“This could be around how to write a job posting – make sure you put in it that you welcome people who can’t work 9 to 5 – work with employers around hours and terms. employment, ”she said.

Jobs in Marlborough are up 8% month-on-month and 40% from pre-Covid figures, according to the latest SEEK employment report in October.

This reflects modest growth as the region continues to recover from the August lockdown.

As of November 9, 234 vacancies were currently advertised in Marlborough on the SEEK NZ website.

The industries with the most current job openings in Marlborough include roles in health and medicine, trades and services, and manufacturing, transportation and logistics.

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