The Reserve Bank says the jobs market is doing as bad a job at matching workers to vacancies than at any time over the past 15 years.
In its latest bulletin, the bank said the mismatch could be partly due to the loss overseas of highly skilled middle aged workers.
Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent says high unemployment since the beginning of 2008 should mean that firms should not have had problems filling vacancies.
But the Reserve Bank said it has become harder for firms to find skilled workers.
It said the mismatch between the skills demanded by firms and the skills of those looking for work is worse than in the mid 2000s when unemployment fell to its lowest level in decades.
The bank said one reason could be the skills demanded for jobs being created by the Canterbury rebuild in areas such as engineering and construction do not match those of workers in tourism, retail and hospitality who lost jobs after the quakes.
It said the high loss overseas since 2010 of workers aged between 34 to 54 - who typically have the highest labour force participation and the lowest incidence of unemployment - could also be a factor.