COVID-19: The jobs most likely to have skill shortages while borders are closed

There are likely to be skill shortages for jobs in construction, healthcare and farming while the borders remain closed due to COVID-19, an analyst says. 

Milford Asset Management senior analyst Frances Sweetman told the AM Show on Thursday those industries were already struggling to fill roles before the pandemic. 

"There are certain areas in the economy that have seen huge skill shortages in the last few years, like nursing and construction. There is a point at which we are going to need to start filling those gaps again."

Sweetman said workers such as highly skilled engineers will be in short supply until the borders open. 

She said the pandemic has made skill shortages worse in several key industries. 

"In healthcare, we have large skill shortages in nurses and in education we have a large skill shortage in teachers."

"There is actually a wide variety of industries [with shortages] even things like fruit picking where the seasonal worker scheme has been capped so if there is a big bumper year next year Kiwis will have to fill that gap." 

While those jobs are normally heavily reliant on overseas workers, fewer Kiwis are leaving which could help fill the gaps, she said. 

"People haven't been leaving quite as much. The economy is looking okay at the moment but it depends on what happens."

Sweetman said the Government's apprenticeship scheme will help to minimise shortages, although she says more investment is needed. 

"Employment is where the rubber hits the road in a recession and that's where the government should be focusing in my view."

"Things like the apprenticeship scheme are fantastic but there is more they could do. They could give tax breaks for employing people. They could fund more retraining schemes."

The Government apprenticeship subsidy was introduced in June to help to ensure there was not a skill shortage after lockdown. 

The scheme will pay employers up to $16,000 for each new apprentice they train from August. 

The $390 million boost will pay businesses $1000 per month for each apprentice in their first year of training, and $500 per month for apprentices in their second year.

The scheme will run for 20 months from August this year until April 2022, and about 18,000 employers are able to apply. 

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