Translating the skills shortage

, posted: 27-Mar-2007 19:29

From a response posted to the New Zealand Herald, on whether or not it's hard to find good staff now... it needed translation.

My association management company prefers to employ young graduates to meet the demands of a diverse client base of national voluntary and non-profit membership associations and charitable trusts.

"We want smart young things silly enough to work for burger flipper wages."

We are an equal opportunity employer and include migrants, depending on English language proficiency, in our team.

"But not if they have an accent."

During the past twelve months we have lost four staff members, who have relocated overseas.

"We don't pay the smart young things enough to stay. Then again, no-one else does either."

Finding replacements of the required quality is becoming increasingly costly, time consuming and frustrating.

"We want smart young things silly enough to work for burger flipper wages. But, it's getting harder to find them."

This negates our expansion plans and makes additional demands on the remaining cohort in terms of increased stress levels and longer working hours to meet existing client commitments.

"We'll work the rest of the staff to the bone rather than paying better salaries to hire more people."

We use a variety of recruitment devices ranging from press, network and on-line advertising. Our expenditure in this regard is not matched by an average five responses of predominantly underqualified applicants, who frequently are not worth interviewing.

"We want smart young things silly enough to work for burger flipper wages. Nobody else."

This is reflected in other industries, which are similarly affected and compelled to put business development on hold.

"Other companies only want smart young things silly enough to work for burger flipper wages as well."

New Zealand is at an unfair advantage particularly in competition with Australia.

Uh... is it?

Foreign graduates frequently lack language skills sufficient to play a significant role in other than back-room support functions, which are limited in a small service business catering mainly for the domestic market.

"Keep the foreigners in the backroom so that customers don't see them!"

We are not prepared to headhunt prospects with offers to outbid their current employers, who increasingly match external bids in a desperate effort to keep staff.

"We want smart young things silly enough to work for burger flipper wages. How many times do we have to tell you this?"

The consequence is a noticeable escalation in our wage bill that has risen by 10 per cent over last year's. We see a tightening of the economy as the only solution to ease the labour market long term.

"We want increased unemployment so that we get a steady supply of smart young things working for burger flipper wages."

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