Train them and they will stay

4 November 2022

GAN business breakfast highlights new findings relating to L&D   

“According to the International Labour Organisation, two out of every five young people are either unemployed, or have a job that keeps them in poverty.”  

These were the words of GAN Global Chair and CEO Zone LATAM at Nestle, Laurent Freixe, opening the GAN business leaders breakfast meeting with Skills Consulting Group on 26th October 2022. The post-pandemic talent gap was a major theme of the meeting.  

A recent article in UK publication Enterprise Times says that more than half of businesses across Europe are experiencing post-pandemic skills shortages that pose a potential threat to growth – a trend repeating itself across North America, Asia and Australasia, with The Manpower group reporting 78% of employers are having difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of skilled talent. But this isn’t because people don’t want to learn – the responsibility falls on organisations to make sure they are training.  

“We cannot afford a lost generation,” says Freixe. “As major employers,  GAN members have a responsibility to skill our workforces through work-based learning opportunities, securing a sustainable and skilled talent pool for a future ready workforce. It’s an investment for your company, society, and future generations.” 

The picture in New Zealand is just as challenging as elsewhere. Brad Olsen, Principal Economist for Infometrics, says the negative effects of our long-documented brain-drain is being amplied by a lack of incoming skilled migrants. 

People are harder and more expensive to come by,” says Olsen, who notes that workers aged 20 – 29 with transferable skills are leaving NZ in droves – 22,000 people in the last 18 months alone. 

“There’s intense pressure to find more people and there’s an intense pressure to keep them.” 

Brad says it is a misnomer that talented people want more pay to stay. Young people are looking for good culture and organisations that will invest in their future with training and experience. 

The right sort of skills 

Recent research commissioned by SCG and undertaken by The Research Agency (TRA), clearly shows that the more supportive a company is of learning and development, the more satisfied and motivated an employee is, and more likely to stay. In fact, 91% of those surveyed who said they were satisfied at work also said their employer invested a lot into training and development. Of those, 83% said they were likely to stay with their employer.  

“It’s fantastic to have Aotearoa-based research and insights that totally debunk the old myth ‘If you train them they will leave’,” says Josh Williams, GAN NZ country manager and a principal consultant at SGC. “It’s the opposite – invest in the skills of your people and they will stay,”  

The important thing now is to offer the right type of training.  

The Research Agency NZ (TRA) found that employees want training on soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and team leadership. But there is a big gap between demand and supply. For example, the research showed that while 47% of workers wanted problem solving training, only 19% of employers offered it.  

In the last five years, at least 25% of skills required for jobs have changed, and this is only going to double,” says Nazrene Mannie, Executive Director of GAN Global, who cites access to technology, employee wellbeing and the desire for flexible working environments as some of the biggest challenges employers will need to navigate over the next decade, and beyond.  

“It’s our responsibility to also ensure that we’re keeping up in terms of the developments in the labour market, and designing interventions that are responsive and relevant to global needs of employers and employees,”  

The message is clear. Invest in your people, and invest in the human skills that will equip the for the future to keep your business and NZ Inc as a whole running at its optimum.  

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