Skilled staff top New Year’s business wish list, says ANZ

One in five respondents cited lack of skilled staff as their biggest problem in the latest ANZ quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of SMBs

Finding skilled staff is the number one challenge for New Zealand businesses as they prepare to ride sustained economic tailwinds to success in 2015, according to ANZ’s latest quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms.

ANZ says lack of skilled staff was cited by one in five respondents, and this concern has overtaken regulation as the biggest challenge facing small businesses. Low turnover was the third most identified challenge.

“With recession now four years ago, the economy is well beyond ‘recovery’. Each passing day of sustained growth brings more confidence to reinvest and take on staff,” says Fred Ohlsson, managing director, retail and business banking at ANZ.

He says lack of skilled staff, however, threatens firms from reaching their full potential. “Migration and training will be key to ensuring businesses can access the skills they need to deliver on the opportunities presented by ongoing economic tailwinds.”

The survey finds small business confidence recovered in December to its third highest level in 15 years after two successive quarterly falls, with owners citing a skills shortage as their biggest obstacle.

Migration and training will be key to ensuring businesses can access the skills they need.

Fred Fred Ohlsson, ANZ

Services (up 8 points to +30 per cent) remains the most upbeat sector, with sentiment at its strongest since comparable data was first collected in 2007, followed by manufacturing (up 2 points to a new high of +25 per cent) and construction (also up 2 points to +25 per cent).

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Retail posted a strong gain (up 7 points to +19 per cent), while falling dairy prices impacted agriculture, the only sector to fall (down 2 points to +5 per cent).

Wellington, meanwhile, reinforced its status as the “confidence capital”, extending its national lead with a surge to the highest level seen in any region since comparable data was first collected in 2007.

Auckland, which accounts for 35 per cent of national GDP, rose to second place for the first time since March 2012 as other regions came off recent highs.

“Record confidence in Wellington, along with its strengths in creative and smart industries, mean it could be poised to be the ‘movie star’ economy of 2015,” says Ohlsson.

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