20 Dec 2013

Exporters survey suggests finding skilled staff not a problem

7:15 am on 20 December 2013

A survey of exporters has found that while 45% expect to hire more staff in the next 12 months, 71% said finding skilled people isn't a problem.

The survey also found 23.5% of respondents expect substantial rises in export orders, 53.3% expect export orders to rise slowly and 63.1% expect higher profits.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard says if the economy keeps growing, finding skilled staff could become more of a problem.

She says the fact that 71% of respondents said finding skilled people isn't a problem suggests that at the moment exporters seem comfortable that they have enough good staff.

But Ms Beard says the economic indicators for the economy are positive so that could change.

The survey also found that nearly 44% of respondents expected to begin exporting to new markets in the next 12 months.

Ms Beard says some of that may be to try and off-set currencies that are challenging in traditional markets, such as the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and increasingly Australia.

She says there is a lot of growth in Asia, where there are growing middle classes, as well as a focus on the ASEAN region which is relatively close to New Zealand.

More than a third of exporters surveyed complained that they still face regulatory and non-tariff barriers.

Ms Beard says that is the nature of exporting and although there are trade deals there will always be logistical issues.

She says ExportNZ hopes to work with Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) officials to find some common ground and see if it's possible to do something about the barriers.

Ms Beard says strategies exporters are using to deal with the very high New Zealand dollar include improving productivity and product innovation.