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Second Quarter Migrant Trends


March saw the smallest net loss of New Zealanders to Australia since March 1992, with only 2,300 more Kiwi’s leaving than arriving. We are also experiencing record numbers of migrant arrivals from other global regions, so why are most sectors still extremely short of talent?

Using observations from their day to day interactions with a broad spectrum of candidates, the Beyond Recruitment management team have offered their insight on this issue.

Kiwis Returning

"2 years ago Beyond commissioned a study of a range of white collar salaries and contract rates comparing Australia and NZ (both public and private sectors).  In a number of role types there were surprising findings in terms of NZ being very competitive." Ben Pearson, GM Wellington

Since this study was published we have noticed a good number of well qualified Kiwi’s returning from Australia. This group somewhat helped to delay the impact of the talent shortages we now face, but already in 2015 there has been a noticeable drop-off in the amount of returning Kiwis.

Emigrating Australians

Even though articles like this one from The Australian highlight that Australians are considering a move to New Zealand, our experience is that whilst the number of Australian applications has spiked, most of these applicants didn’t follow through with their initial intentions. This has meant that the NZ talent shortages have seen very little influence from Australian immigrants.

"We haven’t noticed a huge number of Australians wanting to come to NZ. The ones we have spoken to are wanting to secure a job here before making the move." Ian Green - Manager – Engineering, Technical and Operations

Overseas Experience

The popularity of the Overseas Experience had declined whilst the European economy was struggling, but as this recovers we are again seeing the traditional demographics leaving to commence their OE. In addition those that put off their OE to continue working are also now looking to travel.

The last four years saw a high number of Kiwis returning from their OE, this number has reduced, but the demand for Kiwis with experience gained in other countries remains high, particularly for those that have worked for larger employers.

"Skype interviews are facilitating the process and candidates willing to compromise salary expectations to re-enter the market are receiving offers prior to transitioning home." Anna McCullough – Manager – Professional Services


Our economy and way of life is still very attractive to people from a wide variety of countries. Auckland, and more recently Christchurch, have obviously benefited the most from the resulting influx of migrants. However primarily because of expensive housing costs, a number of smaller towns are beginning to experience immigrants filtering into their workforce.

"We still see a large number of people interested in New Zealand but few prepared to move without a firm offer. Even with technologies like Skype, employers still want to meet face to face. This sometimes includes Kiwis returning home." Steve Willoughby – Manager – IT Wellington – Contracting

Even though we are experiencing record levels of migrants (56,275 in March, compared with 31,914 in March 2014) our clients continue to highlight that these candidates don’t have the skills required to fix the immediate shortages in key areas of demand such as Information Technology, Healthcare and Engineering.


The temp market has seen an increase in highly qualified candidates from the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA and Canada choosing to spend 6 – 12 months working in New Zealand.  Although these candidates are highly qualified in a wide range of industry sectors including health, sciences, financial services and education they are very flexible with the types of roles they are prepared to consider. Clients in turn are impressed with their backgrounds and work ethic and find they often get more valuable contributions when compared with local temp talent.

"Returning Kiwi’s and new immigrants are also electing to temp whilst searching for the ideal permanent role or to gain New Zealand experience." Sharlene Yule, Manager Corporate Services (Wellington)

Advice to Potential Migrants

Whilst we receive a high number of applications from overseas, there is still an understandable hesitation from employers to consider these applicants unless they have already secured a visa for New Zealand.

When applying to jobs in New Zealand it is essential to demonstrate your commitment to the move. Great ways of doing this are to ensure you have thoroughly researched the country and specific cities, plus ideally have a trip planned so you can meet employers face to face.

"International candidates can make themselves stand-out by traveling to NZ to schedule interviews or providing detailed insights on their suitability to move to NZ." Mhairi Kerr – Manager, Information Technology, Wellington


International candidates and to a lesser extent returning Kiwi’s are going to have an ongoing impact on the talent that New Zealand employers can select from.

Candidates should be aware that employers have to invest a lot of time in overseas hires, so being up-front about expectations, timeframes and any other mitigating factors is key.

For employers, whilst financial support for relocation is always viewed favourably, providing advice and support as candidates go through the process and offering the flexibility of video interviews will also help to set your business apart.

Further Information

For further information on the best ways to attract and utilise overseas candidates please contact either Liza Viz or Ben Pearson