NZ mass exodus


8th July, 2022

Kiwis take flight: Is NZ about to face a mass exodus?

New consumer research from MYOB indicates over one million New Zealanders may be actively considering leaving the country in the next 12 months.

In the wake of the pandemic and faced with increased costs of living, it seems like now more than ever Kiwis are headed for the door.

The new insight arrives in MYOB’s Consumer Snapshot survey, which polled over 500 people from around the country and discovered that four percent of respondents plan to move overseas to live and work.

Based on population data from Stats NZ, this number extrapolates out to more than 200,000 people likely to be thinking the same way.

Plus, a full 20 percent of those surveyed (potentially equating to 1,025,000 people) indicated they were actively considering a move offshore.

The news arrives in the wake of the country’s annual net migration figures revealing a loss of 7300 people in the last year.

Other key stats from MYOB’s Consumer Snapshot:

  • 50% of those looking to move believe they’d attract a better salary abroad
  • 44% considered moving for an improved quality of living
  • 21% said they’re looking to move because NZ can’t offer the lifestyle they want

Allure of better work to exacerbate labour shortages

Respondents to the Snapshot survey who indicated they were considering a move estimate they could earn around $23,000 more on average for a similar role in another country.

Fifty-eight percent of those believe that Australia would be that other country, while far fewer consider the UK, US or Europe as a viable destination.

“This has the makings of a real crisis in the local jobs sector, with the lack of available employees making it even more challenging for many businesses to operate or expand to meet local demand,” said MYOB’s Head of Employee Services, Felicity Brown.

“At the moment, work shortages ae hitting home across the board – from tourism, hospitality, construction and trades to healthcare and the tech sector – so a large movement of Kiwis offshore is going to be felt throughout the economy.”

READ: Addressing the labour shortage

Employers to foot the bill

Unsurprisingly, the survey found salary increases in their current roles are the most likely way to encourage Kiwis to stay at home, with 54 percent indicating it would influence their decision to stay.

As a result, employers are likely to be faced with a tough choice in the months ahead: swallow increases to labour costs or struggle to find workers at all.

“For local businesses eager to try and retain talent without having to dig into their cash-strapped reserves, it’s worth considering what other benefits could be offered – such as flexible hours, paid training and development courses, or even internal promotions or moves that offer new opportunities,” suggested Brown.

“Showing employees they are valued helps to increase loyalty – something which will be crucial in the coming months.”

Other factors that may encourage more people to stay in NZ were found to be significantly decreasing the cost of living (48 percent), more affordable housing (27 percent) and if a new government were elected (20 percent).

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About the MYOB Consumer Snapshot

Research for the MYOB Consumer Snapshot was conducted by independent data and market research firm, Dynata, between 3-14 June 2022. In total, 509 New Zealand consumers were invited to complete the online survey and the final make-up and weighting of the sample was in line with nationally representative statistics by age, gender, and region.