Talent shortage puts pressure on NZ marcomms sector

As Aotearoa and the world continue to battle COVID-19, Bay of Plenty-based strategic communication agency, The Shine Collective, says the increased demand for communications and marketing professionals is putting pressure on the sector.

COVID-fuelled labour shortages are affecting multiple sectors nationwide, with those in the hospitality and horticulture the hardest hit, but other professional services are also feeling the pinch.

“COVID has seen many communications professionals snapped up by government departments that have needed to manage COVID communications, and many employees are choosing to stay put, further diminishing the talent pool,” Shine Collective Partner, Meg Jones, says.

“Our network of communications professionals across the country is echoing our observations too, with most noticing a shortage in quality communications professionals. It’s definitely a job hunters’ market.

“The importance of good communications has never been more important than right now and the increase in vacancies in the sector highlights the importance that businesses are placing on this skill and how imperative well-executed communications are to a business.”

Statistics New Zealand data shows in the three months to 30 June, the unemployment rate fell to 4 per cent, from 4.6 per cent at the end of March.

Employment website Seek had its highest number of jobs ever advertised for the fifth consecutive month in July, up 88 per cent from July 2020 and 30 per cent when compared to pre-pandemic numbers from June 2019.

This increase was also reflected in the marketing and communications sector, with an increase of more than 20 per cent in listings month on month in March and April this year.

TradeMe Jobs also had an increase in jobs advertised, with listings up 40 per cent and many businesses reported re-posting listings with closed borders restricting the availability of suitable candidates.

“COVID has changed the business communications environment, in some ways for the better, as businesses have been forced to adapt quickly, think outside the square, and embrace digital technologies and new ways of connecting and communicating with staff, customers, and the public,” Meg says.

“However, high-performing communication professionals will always be a valuable asset to businesses as we adapt how we communicate in this ever-changing world.”