New Zealand's 'colossal staffing needs' are 'here to stay for some time'

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There are opportunities in New Zealand for intrepid workers, particularly in the construction industry but also in many other trades and professions in the rebuilding of the city of Christchurch in the Canterbury Region on New Zealand's South Island.

On 4th September 2010, the Canterbury region was hit by a powerful earthquake which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. There followed a series of aftershocks which ran into 2012. The most powerful and devastating of these occurred close to the city of Christchurch on 22 February 2011.

The quake caused extensive damage to the city. Christchurch cathedral was destroyed and 185 people were killed. The loss of life was comparatively low for such a large earthquake because many buildings were quake-resistant but many of these buildings must now be demolished. The New Zealand government plans to rebuild the city which will cost an estimated NZ$8.5bn (£4.7bn).

Rebuild delayed by aftershocks

So far, little has been done because the aftershocks continued into 2012 but the rebuild is now getting seriously under way. Many of the jobs are in construction but there are also jobs going in many ancillary service professions.

Jason Walker of Hays New Zealand told the New Zealand Herald that Christchurch needs construction workers, accountants, office support and IT professionals, legal secretaries and many others. 'The colossal staffing needs of organisations involved in Christchurch's rebuild are here to stay for some time' he said.

But Christchurch, even with the lure of more jobs and better pay than the rest of New Zealand is finding it hard to lure New Zealanders. Many of them have told pollsters that they are unwilling to move to Christchurch despite the fact that the jobs market is booming there. The reasons they give are mainly

  • Fear of further earthquakes and
  • The lack of property and services

New Zealanders not keen to go to Christchurch

This means that there are likely to be even more jobs available for immigrants. The Christchurch recruitment firm Canstaff has already set up one office in the UK and is about to open a second. Canstaff's managing director Matt Jones said 'certainly, things are picking up. There's no question about that'.

In the last year, there has been a net increase of 1,600 foreign workers in Christchurch. The greatest number of foreign workers has moved from the Philippines on two year temporary work visas. They tend to come alone without their families to work. There are also significant numbers of British and Irish workers.

Lana Hart of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce told award winning New Zealand news website that the rebuild of Christchurch had begun in earnest.

Felicity Ryan of Ryan Recruitment, a New Zealand recruitment company, said that it was 'no surprise, that increase [in immigration], with what's going on in Canterbury and it's going to continue'.

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