top of page

Labour and Skills Shortages


Sector representatives highlighted a significant labour shortage, resulting in the hiring of temporary workers due to the scarcity of skilled labour. They faced challenges as work opportunities had to be turned down due to the severe workforce shortage. Their desire to bring in skilled workers from overseas was hindered by bureaucratic challenges around immigration, particularly during the COVID-19 situation. Although there has been a slight improvement recently, allowing them to bring in a few people from overseas, it's still not an ideal situation.

A specific growing trend among employers seeking flooring workers from overseas found that this practice often led to challenges due to language barriers and unfamiliarity with New Zealand's specific practices and legislation requirements.

Concerns were raised about the difficulty in finding middle-skilled workers, evident in the workforce, with a significant gap between apprentices and experienced workers in management positions.

Representatives mentioned increased demand for housing and construction projects, which put pressure on construction companies to complete projects quickly. This may have compromised the quality of work.

Representatives reported that the labour shortage was partly attributed to a lack of promotion and awareness of Finishing Trades careers among young people and underrepresented groups like Māori and Pacific Peoples.

An aging workforce contributed to labour shortages, as skilled workers retired, and labour force participation reduced. Representatives emphasised that this resulted in fewer mentors for apprentices, skill gaps, and recruitment challenges. Learners' development was hindered, and the job market became more competitive.

We’re having to turn down work because we don’t have the workers. We’re busting at the seams trying to get stuff done. We could do with more skilled people to give us a hand.”

"What’s not working well is the challenges with immigration and labour. We’ve had two years of desperately trying to get people, but we couldn’t. Immigration has been very tricky due namely to COVID. However, over the last few months it’s started to improve; we’re bringing in a few people from overseas and it seems to be getting slightly better."

"We're actively seeking more staff, but we aren’t having much success. It’s a result of Covid which has been a real curve ball to navigate and sadly I feel like we’ll continue to feel it for a few more years to come."

"The thing that’s not going too smoothly is the lack of people coming in through the trade... we need good, qualified tradespeople and we need to catch them young."

"We need to attract more workers to the sector, especially young people, because the ageing workforce is a real issue.”

Representatives made several recommendations to tackle the shortage of skilled workers and make improvements in the sector:

  • Foster collaboration and education between the sector and Te Pūkenga. This aims to enhance understanding of best practice guidelines and requirements to reach potential apprentices and improve accessibility to the trades.

  • Increase the availability of skilled mentors and employers to effectively train and guide workers, especially apprentices.

  • Recognise and value specific endorsements or registrations as indicators of skill and competence to motivate people to attain higher skill levels.

  • Promote inclusivity and outreach to attract people from different backgrounds to the Finishing Trades, including Māori, Pacific Peoples, and women.

  • Develop solutions to increase the representation of Māori, Pacific Peoples and women in the Finishing Trades by providing access to relevant training programmes and opportunities for career advancement.

bottom of page