The Bays Boom
The Bays Boom
The Bay of Plenty set to reach new construction heights
New Zealand’s economy is entering its eighth year of expansion with strong momentum according to ANZ and its not just Auckland. Looking further afield, it’s easy to see why Tauranga is the fastest growing city in New Zealand; it’s got one of highest amount of sunshine hours in the country, close proximity to other large cities such as Auckland and Hamilton, has its own port for trade and good educational facilities, not to mention idyllic beaches and beautiful scenery. Now the business community is growing, businesses are growing and jobs are growing, so that is a huge attraction for people. With population growth comes the need for more residential and commercial properties as well as an increased need for further infrastructure developments leading to a building boom in this sunshine city.
Just last thursday, Minister for Finance Steven Joyce reported that “New Zealand currently has the fourth fastest growth rate in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)” which is unsurprising when you look around New Zealand's major cities. Evidence of this boom can be easily noted in the Bay with $1 billion worth of construction having been approved for the first time ever in a calendar year by councils and almost ¾ o this is in Tauranga alone. The scale of this spreads across residential, civil and commercial projects being both large and small.
But how many workers are needed to cope with this growth? In what areas? And where will they come from?
New figures released by Trade Me earlier this year showed Tauranga job listings rose 37 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 which has now led to more jobs than candidates. With this, employers are facing difficulties other than staff shortages too. Property developers report that with demand higher than ever the price of labour, materials and land are all shooting up as inflation affects all part of the bay. Running alongside this, business owners report that good, skilled workers are getting harder to source, holding up the process for all involved and causing a lag in development. Largely due to the low rate of construction during the global financial crisis, the Bay was left without skilled construction workers who left in order to find work and support themselves. Now with the surge of construction works going on, there are simply not enough skilled workers available to fill these roles and this will cause challenges and opportunities to employees and employers alike.
How this affects employees: People who left New Zealand during this time are beginning to return but employers are also looking at other options such as implementing better training programmes and upskilling current workers but some are also looking overseas to find suitable people. While there is a skills shortage and many people from overseas look to immigrate here to avail of these opportunities, overseas applicants should be aware of recent changes made by New Zealand Immigration to the Skilled Migrant Category of the New Zealand Residence Programme that affect people who want to live and work in New Zealand permanently.
How it affects employers: Some employers may struggle to hold on to employees with such high competition amongst companies. At the same time they will have to focus on the relationships they hold with other companies. Developers, consultants, main contractors and subcontractors will have to put a larger push on building relationships with one another as it’s necessary to have strong links all down the line in order to maintain a strong supply chain where projects can be delivered on time and on budget.
So if Tauranga wasn’t already calling you, then it should be now.
Written by Carol Kelly on February 20th 2017