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New Zealand companies more optimistic about increasing hiring

06-14-2011 14:42 BJT

WELLINGTON, June 14 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand employers are at their most optimistic level about the prospects of taking on new staff since the country went into recession in early 2008, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 650 companies found 26 percent of them expected to increase hiring in the quarter to September, while 9 percent planned to cut staff numbers.

The optimism was being driven by the prospect of rebuilding the country's second city of Christchurch, which was devastated by an earthquake on Feb. 22 that left at least 181 people dead.

However, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey was conducted by the Manpower recruitment company before a series of shocks caused further damage in the city Monday.

A strong demand for mining and construction workers was leading the figures said Michelle Visser, general manager of Manpower New Zealand.

"The Christchurch reconstruction project is shaping up to be one of the biggest construction projects that New Zealand has ever seen. As we move from the clean-up to rebuilding stage, initial reconstruction workers particularly project managers and quantity surveyors will be in high demand."

The finance, insurance and real estate sector was also strong, with a 10-percentage point increase in net hiring intentions to 23 percent.

"This sector has been bolstered by an increased demand for insurance professionals to assess the rebuilding effort in Christchurch," she said.

Hiring intentions were up across the country, with employers in Christchurch, the capital Wellington and the country's biggest city Auckland all reporting an increase in hiring intentions for the next quarter.

But Visser warned that skills shortages could threaten reconstruction schedules for Christchurch.


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