Landscaping company David James Trees has been looking for a crew leader since February but struggles to fill the role.
Zero. That is the number of applications Viridian Glass manager Garry Boyd has received during the past few months to fill roles available in Blenheim.
Boyd has been actively on the hunt for a glazier and an apprentice but despite offering fulltime jobs with benefits, the positions have not been filled.
“We always struggle in Blenheim to attract people to come here but it is even harder now.
“We advertised online, in the paper … Nothing is working at the moment, there is just nobody around,” Boyd said.
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The company employs eight staff but needs four more people to handle its current workload.
Landscaping company David James Tree Services is facing a similar situation. It has been looking for staff since February.
Owner David James said he had filled one position but was still looking for a crew leader for his landscaping team.
“We have been advertising nationally on our website, on Trade Me … We have also tried locally and we are about to try radio advertising as well.
“We are certainly having problems recruiting, even just getting inquiries.
“The only inquiries we had were people with no skills or knowledge who have been obviously trying any job they can try for.
“The job includes constructing fences, putting down paving or building a deck so, ideally, we need someone who already has the skills and knowledge to do that and to pass it on,” James said.
The company also takes on apprentices and trains them to meet its needs.
“I learnt myself with the apprenticeship model. We would always support that so there are people available in the industry.”
The company did in-house training, especially for its arboriculture team.
“We are such a small town compared with the rest of the country, we don’t have the pool of people available that might want to shift jobs or change careers.”
James said the struggle to fill jobs was also indicative of the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everybody is battening down the hatches and they are not sure about what will happen, so they are not too willing to make changes at the moment,” James said.
To help plug the labour shortage, the Blenheim business owner would like the Government to allow skilled migrants back into the country.
James said they were facing an additional cause for worry with the trans-Tasman bubble making the labour market more competitive.
“Australians are actively advertising to attract New Zealand skilled workers, so that puts more pressure on us seeing them saying: Come over, we have got work.
“Unfortunately, we are not allowed to do that yet.”