The Service sector is facing sustained skill and labour shortages, with some industries facing more extreme shortages while others were forced to make staff redundant. Looking forward, we anticipate the labour market will remain tight, and the Service sector will need to continue to work hard to attract the workforce needed for the future.
Part of successfully attracting the future workforce is considering what the future of customer demand could look like and how to best respond to that demand while factoring in the changing expectations people have of work. One thing is for certain; the future workforce will have more people who are Māori, Pacific, and Asian, fewer young people and more people working past the traditional retirement age. People in the workforce are increasingly wanting things like more flexible hours, remote work, and other conditions that enable them to better balance work and other priorities.
Technology is rapidly changing the skills required in a range of roles across the sector as well as the nature of work that people do. Reducing some of these automatable tasks may help make some sector roles more attractive to a wider range of potential workers.
If the sector can successfully attract the workforce that we have in New Zealand, and keep them engaged in the sector for longer, then we can look to reduce reliance on short-term migration. This will help increase productivity and wages, reduce some poor workplace practices, and create opportunities for local people and communities.
Transformational change in the Service sector workforce will take time but to achieve that change, we need to start taking action now. Download our action plan which includes the key areas of focus, medium-term actions and short-term initiatives.