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Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Stretched summer ahead: Queenstown Lakes job ads increase 330%

The latest quarterly Queenstown-Lakes’ labour market snapshot report points towards a challenging summer ahead for employers.


The latest quarterly Queenstown-Lakes’ labour market snapshot report, commissioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), points towards a challenging summer ahead for employers.

Report data shows a striking 330.4% increase in local job ads listed on Jobfix from September 2021 to September 2022. Worker availability for the same period is down 36.8% for those on employer-assisted visas, and -52% for those classified as ‘job-seekers’ in the district.

This is despite an overall 3.6% increase in filled jobs in the district over the past year. The increase masks a drop of 1,043 jobs in accommodation and food service employment in September 2022, versus September 2019. Jobs grew predominantly in construction (up 582) and professional services (304), followed by recreational services (211 jobs), manufacturing (191), and health (190 jobs).

QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris said the report underscores the breadth of the workforce challenges across all sectors, and the growing need for change to achieve greater stability for businesses in the district.

“While it is encouraging to see early signs of diversification in job growth outside of the hospitality industry, there’s a long way to go.”

Economist and report author Benje Patterson said while the district survived the winter, labour market shortages are enduring and looking like they will only be exacerbated by the summer season - which began with the Queenstown marathon last weekend.

“The hospitality and accommodation sector alone would need to expand its headcount by 1,500 workers just to return to its pre-Covid summer level. Businesses would be wise, wherever possible, to invest in systems and technological solutions to help them be able to maintain their yield with a leaner workforce.”

Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce Head of Business Growth Sharon Fifield said the reality is hard for business owners and it’s challenging to consider the workforce shortage as a problem that’s not going away soon.

“Many businesses are having to close their doors one or two days a week just to give their staff a break which is really tough. To add to their worries, attracting more staff is proving difficult due to a lack of available housing. It’s great to see so many businesses providing worker accommodation, but there is still quite a gap in supply.

“Innovation is going to be really important for businesses in order to operate with continuing low labour supply.”

Mr Harris said, “Businesses are losing income from not being able to offer their normal levels of service, and visitors have less choice about what they can do here. By adding data to the issue the QLDC Economic Development team hopes it helps business and government leaders understand the scale of the challenge and prompts decisions that help relieve the pressure.”

The report is available on QLDC’s website at: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/community/economic-development/building-business-capability-and-talent


Media contact: communications@qldc.govt.nz or call 03 441 1802.


  • Businesses are invited to share their views by completing the quarterly Business Confidence Survey, run by the Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Queenstown Lakes District Council, Ignite Wanaka, The Lakes Weekly Bulletin and jobfix.co.nz. Responses are open until Wednesday 30 November. Complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z8VLFYM

  • Businesses are encouraged to access support from First Steps, a wellbeing resource platform available to all New Zealand businesses and supported by Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce: https://firststeps.nz/

About the Queenstown Lakes labour market snapshot quarterly report

The quarterly report is commissioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council and prepared by independent economist Benje Patterson, People & Places. Supported by Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce, the report was originally commissioned in 2021 in response to a demand to understand workforce challenges in the district. Previous reports are published on the QLDC website.