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It’s time to start thinking outside of NZ for our Commercial Property Talent

With a continuing challenging market when it comes to talent in New Zealand, employers will need to have a mindset shift around targeting overseas candidates and bringing them into the Country. This is especially true in Commercial Property where employers tend to be reluctant to hire overseas qualified property candidates. In today’s article, we explore the reasons behind these hesitations, provide insights into other Countries offshore talent attraction and give some practice advice on how to start attracting talented property professionals into New Zealand.

It is uncommon for New Zealand property employers to undertake an overseas attraction campaign to bring Commercial Property professionals into the Country. The reasons behind this are culminative. Firstly, employers are often looking for immediate solutions to talent needs, therefore the longer lead times required to bring in overseas candidates are less appealing. There is an impression that the lack of exposure and understanding around specific New Zealand market factors will take a long time to learn and discussion of a 12 month ‘bed in’ period is common, another perceived time delay that most employers don’t have the capacity to cover. Further, we hear barriers around the way that New Zealand does business is very different to other countries and without those nuances and relationships, candidates will initially struggle here.

The reality is that New Zealand is currently in the midst of a significant brain drain, with a huge volume of our qualified professionals heading offshore after being couped up in New Zealand for the past three years. The UK Visa changes are making it easier for New Zealanders to stay overseas for longer, and many of those already over there have missed out on the traditional UK experience so are doubling down on time away. Salaries and benefits tend to be more appealing in locations like the UK and Australia, making the NZ proposition much less competitive on a global scale. Adding to the pressure countries like Australia, have identified overseas talent as a necessary solution to their talent shortage and employers are proactively focusing on this talent pool, with established interview processes over video, relocation packages and an inherent trust that candidates can move into a local market, get up to speed and quickly start adding value.

Currently there is very little movement of experienced Kiwis returning to New Zealand to work. The message to most overseas candidates in Property seems to be a narrative along the lines of “you need to be back in NZ before you can interview, Kiwi employers recruitment needs are immediate.” Not exactly enticing or making it easy for people to come here. Along with a change in the narrative, New Zealand needs to do more to attract people to relocate here, by helping candidates prepare for a move and educating them on New Zealand so they can be ready to deliver when they arrive. Alongside our employers being proactive, our Visa process needs to be straight forward and fast.

Here at Assemble this is something we are actively aware of. We are always advertising in overseas markets and have a defined process in place to support candidates to make the move to New Zealand. With a shift in mindset from employers, we will be able to future proof the talent pipeline of our industry.

If you would like any advice in attracting overseas talent, please give Matt Webster from the Assemble team a call.

Matt Webster - Manager Commercial Real Estate

027 274 6829