How employers, educators and workers can prepare for the future of work was the overarching theme of ChristchurchNZ’s latest Ōtautahi Economic Insights Breakfast.
After an overview of regional economic indicators from Martin Cudd, ChristchurchNZ’s General Manager Innovation and Business Growth, three workforce experts presented their insights, followed by a panel discussion. The guest speakers were:
- Tracey Cotter-Martin, Datacom - Associate Director Futures, Insights & Experience
- Hinepounamu Apanui-Barr, Tokona te Raki - Rangatahi Researcher
- Ishan Brailsford, Regional Skills Leadership Group Member
The five key takeaways from the presentation and panel discussion are:
- The outlook for 2023 is a lot more positive than you might think
With inflation at a 40-year high, confidence in the economy is low. Despite this, Christchurch is well placed due to the strength of our regional agriculture industry, the return of tourism and a strong start-up innovation ecosystem. The agriculture industry contributes over 20 per cent of Greater Christchurch’s GDP and the return of cruise ships and major events have pushed the restart button for tourism. As for the start-up innovation ecosystem, Christchurch has just jumped 168 places in Startup Blink’s 2022 Global StartUp Ecosystem index to make the global top 250 which is the biggest jump the report’s authors have ever seen. That in itself is a very promising sign that business can boom in our region.
- Māori and Pasifika populations are the backbone of the future economy
These previously underutilised groups are growing fast and have been subject to ‘inequity by design’. A change in mindset is needed to foster rangatahi and get them to help shape and design our workplaces and culture. It’s also important to think outside of the big cities as many want to make an impact and add value to their communities, so we need to think of ways where skills can be applied at a local level while remaining beneficial to business and the economy.
- We need to adapt from an age of abundance to the age of scarcity
We live in a time of information overload and digital acceleration. At the same time, environmental constraints are tipping us from an age of abundance to an age of scarcity. This will require a huge change in our mindset and approach alongside significant investment in physical infrastructure. Businesses that can prepare for the unpredictably and are people-driven by providing meaningful work, connection and value to their employees, will be the ones that are successful.
- Youth play a core role in the future of our workforce
Rangatahi will have approximately 18 careers across five industries and those already in careers need to adapt and learn ‘skill portability’. There is a shift away from a single-minded view about qualifications to the types of skills that can transfer across many industries. Purpose is also key, as rangatahi are acutely aware that they stand to inherit a world plagued by issues and are not content to sit in a 9 to 5. They want their mahi to meaningfully contribute to the issues they care about, providing them opportunities where they can combine their passions and values with their work, rather than exercising them separately, is going to attract and retain future employees.
- Workplaces need to be a place where people feel valued, safe and inclusive
Building a culture that supports people to be responsive and continue to learn while involving the next generation will attract and retain the talent. We need to include minority and diverse rangatahi in the design of workforce and workplace culture rather than forcing it upon them. In order to benefit from diversity in our workforce, we must empower employees to work as themselves. In a nutshell, ensuring they are valued and equipped with the skills they need to fully engage with our workforce is pivotal to future success in our region.