9 June 2021

Workforce attraction and retention issues have taken on a whole new complexion post-Covid.

Chamber members are crying out for staff across all industries. Southland is competing with other regions for the same pool of people, and we need to pull together as a region to make Southland a destination of choice.

While it’s been an issue for several years, Covid has intensified the challenges with the migrant workforce tap being well and truly turned off.

The Chamber board has identified the issue as a top priority in its strategy to 2025. Firstly, we need to define the exact nature of the challenges post-Covid, and develop projects to combat these. Retaining and attracting young people is one priority project.

The Southland Housing Action Forum is working on targeted solutions to the housing crisis – to help ensure we can cater for diverse housing needs.

While the Government is clear immigration will continue to be a tricky area for some time, the Chamber will continue to lobby for sensible and workable immigration rules, so the settings are right when the tap turns back on.

Equally, retaining the up-and-coming leaders, the parents, the people on the touchlines, the driving forces of arts and culture, is crucial.

We need these people to stay. We need their energy in our urban and rural communities, and we need their energy and drive to spark much needed vibrancy in our night-life.

That’s the Southland that will convince other people to make it their new home.

Sheree Carey, CEO
Southland Chamber of Commerce