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Auckland losing skilled workers: survey

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/07/2016

Picture for representational purposes only.  © REX Features Picture for representational purposes only.  Highly skilled workers don't want to move to Auckland, and the city's workers are fleeing to the regions in search of a better life, a survey has found.

Employers say decreased productivity, increased sickness and difficulties finding staff are the results of Auckland's housing crisis, according to a survey by recruitment agency Frog Recruitment.

The company questioned senior managers of nearly 40,000 employees across 25 Auckland-based businesses from multiple sectors, including finance, media, property, and food.

Spokeswoman Jane Kennelly said the majority of managers surveyed had serious concerns about the impact Auckland's high cost of living had on their ability to retain staff, and on employees' performance.

House prices in Auckland are about nine times higher than average incomes, according to recent estimates.

The survey found a growing number of workers were forced to rent instead of buy houses, which led to decreased productivity from frequent shifting, and sickness from inadequate housing.

"Employers reported that housing affordability, renting and the impact of those issues on performance was a very common conversation held around the water cooler," said Kennelly.

Managers also had trouble attracting new skilled workers from outside Auckland.

"Many won't or can't come to Auckland as they know they won't be able to afford to live here, which impacts on skill levels within companies," she said,

"Conversely, we are losing highly skilled Aucklanders to other regions in the country to pursue a better work life balance."

The survey revealed workplace morale was being sorely tested as frustrated employees arrived at work stressed from traffic delays, and increased dependence on public transport often made workers late to work.

About two-thirds of employers surveyed had introduced measures to mitigate the problem such as flexible start times outside traffic rush hours, remote work arrangements or commuting allowances.

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