According to a research commissioned by Business New Zealand, the country could be facing a quarter of a million worker shortage by 2048. This is an alarming figure considering the size of New Zealand's population and labour force currently. If this prediction becomes a reality, it could have dramatic effects on the economy and the quality of life for Kiwis.
Solutions to the looming crisis may include increasing immigration numbers to fill vacant jobs and encouraging more New Zealanders to enter occupations in education, engineering and healthcare – fields with overall worker numbers that are predicted to shrink from the early 2030s.
On the other hand, the report also indicated that there will be an excess of workers in management and commerce, creative arts, food hospitality, and personal services in the next twenty years.
According to Kirk Hope, the chief executive of Business New Zealand, it is crucial to have consistent immigration policies in place. This is because other nations facing similar demographic shifts are also exploring ways to attract more foreign workers. He added that more policy development needs to occur in enabling more diverse populations to come into the workforce and increasing the participation and employment of Māori, Pacific Islander, women and older people could help close the workforce gap.
So it's not just about immigration; it’s about how we ensure that we have fit for purpose labour force for the future.", Hope said.
It is clear that New Zealand needs to come up with solutions now if it wants to avoid an economic meltdown in 25 years' time. The New Zealand government and future administrations should prioritize having a dependable, straightforward immigration policy so that the country will remain an attractive destination for people from all over the world.