Will AI Recruitment be Replacing Recruiters?

Authored by See Yang Foo, Managing Director & Country Head, Singapore.

In recent years, the recruitment world has undergone a significant transformation following the emergence of AI-powered tools. AI recruitment tools are becoming increasingly common in the hiring process, from screening candidates to conducting initial interviews. While this AI technology enables an effective hiring process, it also raises questions about the future of human recruiters.

Will AI recruitment systems eventually replace human recruiters altogether?

While AI tools bring undeniable advantages to the recruitment process, it’s crucial to pinpoint which aspects of hiring we can efficiently automate. To improve AI and human recruiters’ collaboration in hiring, we must identify tasks suitable for technology and those needing human involvement.

Therefore, what are the main recruitment tasks that we can efficiently automate?

Our connections on LinkedIn have provided us with insights into the hiring processes that could benefit from AI enhancements. Some of these processes include:

The Rise of AI in Hiring

The existence of AI technology in hiring marks a significant shift in how organisations seek, identify and select potential candidates for job openings. Artificial Intelligence has rapidly evolved to become a game-changer in the recruitment landscape.  

The desire for faster, more cost-effective and fairer hiring processes has driven this technological evolution. Traditional recruitment methods frequently led to extended hiring cycles, missed opportunities and, occasionally, unintended biases. AI aims to address these shortcomings by taking advantage of its ability to analyse huge datasets with unmatched speed and precision.

They identify patterns, extract meaningful insights and make data-driven decisions in real time. Additionally, they excel at identifying top talent, predicting candidate success and optimising the hiring process from start to finish. The move towards AI recruitment isn’t just a trend – it’s a strategic step towards a more efficient, data-driven and fair hiring future.

Four Roles of AI in Recruitment

As AI keeps changing the recruitment industry and altering how recruiters fill job openings, it takes on several important roles in helping organisations and human resources find talent.

Here are four of them:

Enhancing Job Descriptions and Visibility

AI uses advanced natural language processing to create better and more inclusive job descriptions by studying successful previous listings. This can attract a broader range of candidates. Its tools find keywords and phrases, making job postings more visible on different platforms and easier for candidates to find.

Streamlining Resume Screening

AI has significantly improved the initial screening of resumes and job applications. Traditional methods of screening candidates usually involve manual sorting, which is slow and can be unfair. AI-powered applicant tracking systems can quickly review and filter many applications, identifying the best candidates according to set criteria.

Improving Candidate Assessment

Another key area of AI is its creation of predictive analytics tools that assess how well candidates match job titles based on their skills, experience and alignment with the company’s culture. These tools use past hiring data to find trends and connections, assisting recruiters in making informed choices during applicant screening.

Optimising Candidate Sourcing

AI algorithms can search online platforms and databases to find potential candidates with the skills and experience that the offered jobs require. This automation streamlines the sourcing process, enabling recruiters to focus their efforts on building relationships and conducting in-depth interviews.

The transformative power of AI in recruitment is undeniable. It has changed how organisations find their ideal candidate and connect with them, from making job descriptions more inclusive to making the initial screening process more efficient.

Three Advantages of Recruiting with AI

While AI’s involvement in hiring brings many benefits, it’s essential for us to explore the specific advantages it has to offer.

Let’s look at how AI can significantly impact talent acquisition through these three points.


AI is incredibly fast at handling large volumes of data, making the process of finding and hiring qualified candidates much quicker. This efficiency saves recruiters a significant amount of time and resourcesThey can focus on strategic aspects of talent acquisition as AI can handle data tasks quickly and accurately.

Cost Savings

Automation in recruitment delivers significant cost savings for organisations. It helps save money on advertising by reaching the right candidates efficiently and reduces administrative costs through task automation. In essence, it streamlines recruitment processes, leading to overall cost-efficiency and resource optimisation.

Improved Candidate Experience

AI chatbots and automated emails in recruitment make the candidate experience better. They provide quick updates and feedback, keeping candidates engaged and satisfied. Chatbots answer questions instantly, while automated emails acknowledge applications and offer initial feedback – showing professionalism and care.

Humans and AI: A Cooperative Approach

While AI technology has the potential to enhance and expedite the recruitment process, it’s unlikely to replace human recruiters entirely. Human touch is important for evaluating soft skills, cultural fit and other qualities that AI struggles to assess. Recruiters also play a crucial role in building relationships with candidates and ensuring a positive candidate experience.

The ideal approach is a cooperative one, where AI accommodates the abilities of human recruiters. By automating everyday tasks, AI allows recruiters to concentrate on more important activities like conducting a thorough interview process – be it through in-person or video interviews – and offering personalised support to candidates.


As explored in this blog, AI recruitment is a powerful tool that can potentially transform the hiring process. It can help companies save time and resources by automating repetitive tasks like resume screening and candidate matching. However, as powerful as AI is, it cannot replace the human element in recruitment. Human recruiters play a crucial role in assessing qualities like communication skills, cultural fit and emotional intelligence, which cannot be measured by algorithms alone. 

The future of recruitment is one where AI and human recruiters work together in a complementary way. AI can help automate low-level tasks, freeing up recruiters’ time to build relationships with candidates and clients and assess the intangible qualities that make a candidate a good fit for a role and a company. 

At PERSOLKELLY, we believe that the future of recruitment is a team effort between AI and human recruiters. Our team is leading the way in creative recruitment solutions that leverage the power of AI while valuing the expertise and insight of human recruiters. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey and explore the possibilities of the dynamic world of AI-powered hiring. Connect with us today and learn how you can become a part of shaping the future of recruitment.

If you’re looking for a change to a challenging yet rewarding job, then a role in recruitment could be the perfect move for you. You never know where it’ll take you.

We’re always on the hunt for great people to join our team. If you’re confident and caring, proactive and passionate, smart and resourceful, and want to kick-start or continue your career in helping others achieve their career goals, then we’d love to hear from you.

To register your interest in a future with PERSOLKELLY, visit our careers page.

7 Tips to Effectively Attract and Retain Digital Talents

By Sonny Subhan, Deputy Country Head PERSOLKELLY Indonesia.

The demand for digital talent has been consistently high in recent years, given the increasing importance of technology and digital solutions. Companies from various sectors depend on employees with digital expertise to drive innovation and develop solutions that enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences and deliver new products and services. 

This high demand is fueled by a significant shortage of digital talent across the globe, with slow talent development and a lack of talent mobility among the contributing factors. To solve this problem, everyone needs to work together – schools, businesses, organisations and the government.  

Our research on LinkedIn aimed to uncover the qualities that future digital talent will prioritise when searching for employment opportunities. With the current shortage of digital talent, these qualities are becoming increasingly valuable and highly sought after.

This article helps business leaders find highly-skilled talent for their digital transformation needs. We believe that understanding candidates, and investing in attracting and retaining them, are the key factors in achieving this goal. Here are seven tips to attract and retain digital talent:

Tip 1: Work on Career Development Strategy and Training Programs

Developing a robust talent acquisition strategy is instrumental in attracting and retaining talent. To find the best talent, it’s important to use more than just the usual methods for hiring. It is crucial to have well-thought-out succession planning in place. Organisations can prevent leadership disruptions and ensure a smooth transition by planning ahead for succession.

Equally, digital professionals value organisations that invest in their growth and development. Talent development programs that focus on new technologies, artificial intelligence, digital technology, industry trends and professional skills help develop employees and demonstrate the organisation’s dedication to staying ahead in the digital world.

Tip 2: Provide Mentorship

Providing mentorship is a powerful tool for retaining digital talent within an organisation. By offering mentorship programs, employers demonstrate their commitment to supporting the professional development of their employees. Mentors can guide and provide valuable insights, helping employees navigate challenges, acquire new skills and expand their knowledge. This personalised guidance fosters a sense of belonging and investment in the organisation, making employees more likely to stay long-term.

Tip 3: Push Employee Development

A common trait in digital professionals is their ambition. They value organisations that can offer professional development opportunities for career path growth and advancement. Companies can attract motivated individuals who want to improve their skill development and knowledge by offering clear paths for career advancement. By actively supporting and investing in the professional development of their digital talents, organisations will increase employee satisfaction and retention rates, attract top-notch individuals and foster a sense of loyalty and commitment.

Considering these factors can be beneficial in the long term and serve as a wise investment for a business. To compete for talent, leaders must take charge and be proactive with their strategies.

Tip 4: Work on Employer Brand

Companies must develop a good reputation as an employer to attract and maintain a diverse workforce in the digital industry. One way is through staff advocacy, an overlooked but essential strategy. Employers must highlight the purpose and interests behind jobs to attract qualified candidates and improve retention. Satisfied employees become enthusiastic advocates, sharing positive experiences through social media and online reviews. This virtuous cycle of staff advocacy creates a strong employer brand that stands out in a competitive marketplace.

Tip 5: Competitive Salaries, Compensation or Benefits

In the competitive digital market, talented professionals are in high demand. So, organisations need to offer good pay to attract them. Employees who receive fair compensation for their work are more likely to feel valued and motivated. In addition, organisations should provide benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and generous vacation time, allowing employees to take time off to recharge and spend time with loved ones. Organisations can also offer wellness programs or gym memberships, encouraging employees to prioritise their physical and mental health. By providing these benefits, companies can help employees maintain a better work-life balance and ultimately lead happier, healthier lives.

Tip 6: Emphasise Diversity and Inclusion in the Recruitment Process

In today’s world, embracing diversity and inclusion when recruiting new employees creates a positive company culture. When organisations prioritise diversity and inclusivity in the work environment, they can attract a larger range of talented individuals and create a more innovative and creative environment. Inclusivity cultivates a sense of belonging, where individuals feel valued and confident in contributing their unique skills and ideas. Ultimately, prioritising diversity and inclusion in the recruitment process is a win-win for both the company and the employee, leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding career experience.

Tip 7: Revamp Workplace Culture to Fit Digital Transformation by Embracing Modern Technology

Today’s digital professionals thrive in dynamic, tech-forward environments that foster innovation, collaboration and agility. Organisations can create this appealing work culture by utilising digital tools. They can also allow remote work and offer flexible work arrangements that simultaneously lead to a positive workplace culture.

These strategies are particularly attractive to the majority of digital employees. Implementing modern technology and automation streamlines the hiring process and allows digital talent to work more efficiently and creatively.


Talent shortages are a big problem for leaders and organisations worldwide. Hiring people is becoming increasingly difficult – especially for IT and digital jobs, given continuous and rapid technological advancements.

The responsibility lies with all parties to ensure the development and acquisition of new talent in the relevant areas. Hiring Managers must know what job seekers care about to attract and keep them by utilising this knowledge and investing in long-term strategies to entice and hire talented individuals.

How can PERSOLKELLY help you meet the challenge of digital skills recruitment?

We can effectively assist in meeting the challenge of digital skills recruitment through our specialised expertise and comprehensive resources. As a renowned talent solutions provider, we deeply understand the evolving digital landscape and the specific skills required in various industries.

Ready to break the barrier of digital skills recruitment? Please reach out to us today and unlock a world of talent to drive your organisation’s digital success.

The Future of Digital Recruitment: ChatGPT-Enhanced Talent Acquisition

Authored by Brian Sim, Managing Director & Country Head Malaysia, PERSOLKELLY.

In today’s rapidly changing world, where technological innovation and digital transformation are pertinent, the way companies hire new employees is also changing. The combination of technology and the fourth industrial revolution has brought about a new era in hiring. One such instance is ChatGPT, a large language model powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that is becoming crucial in this shift towards digital recruitment.

AI tech improves recruitment, enhances customer experiences and positions agencies as top job search engines. For example, businesses can put this cutting-edge tool on their websites to quickly respond to common questions.

Adding ChatGPT as a ChatBot on a company’s website gives job seekers quick and interactive help. This makes the website easier to use and more attractive, simplifying the job search and giving valuable information. It can check resumes quickly, helping professionals find the right skills and qualifications making business processes more efficient.

As technology advances, we wonder: How exactly can ChatGPT make recruitment processes easier?

To learn more about the benefits of this AI-powered tool in the hiring business, we asked our LinkedIn connections for their thoughts in a survey.

Here’s what we have discovered:

A graph of a person and personDescription automatically generated with medium confidence


The Evolution of ChatGPT in Hiring

Employers and job seekers now have different expectations because of the ever-changing job market. The hiring process has changed a lot. Now, people are using AI technologies like ChatGPT, which utilise deep learning.

These large-scale emerging technologies are replacing traditional methods such as manual resume screening, phone interviews and in-person meetings. While the traditional methods have their own benefits, they are often time-consuming, resource-demanding, and liable to human biases. They also fail to meet the expectations of modern candidates. These candidates are tech-savvy and prefer standardised and quick interactions with employers.

The emergence of ChatGPT as a hiring tool marks a departure from these conventional practices. Its advanced natural language processing capabilities allow it to understand and respond to candidates’ inquiries and comments in real-time. This not only enhances the candidate experience but also addresses the growing demand for efficient communication, especially among younger job seekers.

The 4 Pros of Using ChatGPT in Recruitment

ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in the recruitment process as it offers several significant advantages.

Here are the four pros of using ChatGPT in recruitment:

24/7 Availability

ChatGPT is available 24/7, answering candidates’ questions outside of regular work hours – therefore improving a company’s customer service. This availability makes sure candidates get answers when they need them and influences the company’s visibility and appearance.

Being available 24/7 and quickly answering candidate questions has several benefits. It improves customer service, increases company visibility and saves recruiters’ time. This is because it allows for addressing inquiries outside of normal work hours. Integrated with systems like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), it streamlines paperwork and enhances overall efficiency.

Time Efficiency

A big advantage of using ChatGPT is that it saves a lot of time, especially at the beginning of hiring. The system can communicate with multiple people at the same time. This saves recruiters from repetitive tasks. It also allows them to focus on more important parts of the hiring process, like thorough screening.

ChatGPT makes screening more efficient, improving hiring quality and speeding up the process by allocating resources effectively. Using resources efficiently speeds up hiring, improving quality and fairness, enhancing candidate experience and boosting the company’s reputation.

Consistent Screening

Using ChatGPT for consistent screening not only guarantees a fair and uniform process but also improves the overall candidate experience. Using impartial automated screening makes the company look good to job candidates. This matches the goal of giving candidates the best experience.

Enhanced Candidate Engagement

ChatGPT significantly boosts candidate engagement, directly leading to reduced recruitment costs. It does this by using data from past conversations to automate first interactions and answer common candidate questions. This lessens the requirement for human effort and improves resource distribution.

The 4 Cons of Using ChatGPT in Recruitment

ChatGPT helps us in recruitment, but we should also think about its disadvantages – especially since it’s a new technology.

Let’s look at them through these four arguments:

Limited Understanding of Context

ChatGPT often has trouble understanding conversations, especially when the questions are a bit tricky. This can affect candidate’s experience as they won’t be getting accurate answers. In times like this, recruiters may have to step in to fix things and strategise on ways to harmonise with ChatGPT.

Lack of Personalisation

ChatGPT typically provides standardised responses and lacks the personal touch that human recruiters can offer. This can possibly affect the long-term relationship with candidates as they often appreciate a customised approach during the recruitment process. They prefer feedback tailored to their skills and experiences. ChatGPT may not be able to deliver this level of personalisation, potentially leading to a less engaging candidate experience.

Inability to Assess Soft Skills

ChatGPT can assess candidates based on their information but struggles to evaluate soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These skills are often crucial for job performance and cultural fit within a company. Depending too much on ChatGPT for candidate evaluation may cause the company to miss out on candidates with excellent social skills. It could also result in hiring individuals who do not fit well with the company’s culture.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence

ChatGPT lacks emotional intelligence, making it unable to understand the emotional state of candidates during most interactions. In contrast, human recruiters can frequently detect candidates’ stress, enthusiasm or need for reassurance and can adjust their approach accordingly.

These drawbacks shed light on the importance of integrating ChatGPT with human touchpoints at important parts of the hiring process. Recruiters can step in for more emotionally sensitive discussions, such as providing feedback on rejection or discussing complex circumstances. This way, candidates get the care and support they need – making their whole experience better.


While AI tools are beneficial in improving the recruitment process, they have their limitations. These include difficulty understanding context, lack of personalisation, difficulties in assessing soft skills and a lack of emotional intelligence.

To overcome these limitations, integrating this AI model with human recruiters is essential. Recruitment agencies that use both AI and human knowledge find a good mix. They give job seekers personal and emotionally smart help, which makes the experience better. The combination of efficient AI tech and a people-focused approach allows for a more interesting and successful hiring process.

When it comes to the hiring process, using ChapGPT can definitely be complicated. While it may seem like a convenient option, it requires a significant amount of time and effort to use effectively. On the other hand, we can provide a hassle-free process where we take care of everything for you.

Let us help you optimise your hiring process, saving you valuable time and resources.

Boomerang Employees: Should You Return to Your Old Job?

Authored by Thammaiah BN, Managing Director & Country Head, PERSOLKELLY India.

Boomerang employees’ is a phrase that refers to people who leave a company but later return to work there again. This trend has become more popular recently, primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused numerous changes in the workforce.

Previous data reveals almost 20% of workers who resigned from their jobs during the pandemic have now re-joined their former employers This is a big opportunity for companies as a significant number of them want to rehire their old employees and are still connected with their ex-employees who had left on good terms. However, this phenomenon could pose a challenge for companies aiming to retain their recently hired staff. These recent hires might want to leave and go back to their old jobs, making it tough for employers to keep their skilled workers.

We have recently conducted a poll on LinkedIn to further explore the motivating factors behind most employers’ decisions in rehiring a boomerang employee.

The chart below represents the results:


Should You Become One? – The Pros and Cons

The Harvard Business Review found that a notable 28% of ‘new hires’ were actually people who had left their jobs at the same company in the last three years.

This number raises the question of whether employees should consider becoming one of them. Let’s explore the pros and cons of being a boomerang employee.

The Pros

Immediate Skill Application

Going back to a previous company means that you have the important company knowledge and skill set that can be used right away. This can be beneficial for both you and the employer, as there is no need for an extensive training period that is usually conducted during the onboarding process. Leveraging your acquired knowledge of the company’s systems and processes can greatly cut down costs and time for the organisation.

Efficient Adaptation

As you come back to a company as a returning employee, the process of fitting in and adapting is easier following your previous experience with the company. This will not only speed up the process but also motivate you to channel enhanced output and efficiency without needing excessive training. Additionally, your acknowledgement of the company’s environment and cultural gratitude helps keep things steady and strengthen the values everyone shares. As a result, the team works better together – leading to overall success for the company.

Strong Professional Network

Rejoining your former employer provides you with the unique opportunity to tap into the network of professional connections you have already established during your previous tenure. This network can prove to be valuable in various aspects of your career.

Career Growth Opportunities

When you return to a former employer, it gives you a strong chance to move up in your career – especially if the company values your skills and what you have done before. Even more so when you have a growing understanding of the related industry and insights into the competitors from your prior engagements. They might be able to see your potential and give you more important roles or interesting projects that can be a good fit for you.

Reduced Job Search Uncertainty

During times of economic uncertainty and strong job market competition, going back to a previous employer can provide a comforting sense of stability and security. This becomes even more relevant during the great resignation trend, where many people are leaving their jobs. Returning to a workplace you already know well, with its dynamics and culture, can reduce the stress of changing careers.

The Cons

Stagnation and Growth Limitation

While rejoining a previous job can bring immediate benefits like familiarity and comfort, it may also pose the risk of stagnation if the company lacks clear pathways for vertical or horizontal advancement. Without new challenges and opportunities, you might find your career growth limited – potentially hindering your professional development and long-term aspirations.

Residual Issues

Returning to a former employer could mean facing the same problems that made you leave previously. If the company has not fixed issues like management, workplace culture, or other problems, you might feel unhappy again. This can affect how satisfied and engaged you are with your work.

Perception by Peers

When you come back, your coworkers might think you are not very committed or ambitious – as they might believe you did not have better choices somewhere else. This idea could change how you get along with your colleagues, work together as a team and even stop you from getting leadership roles or additional tasks.

Negotiation Power

When rejoining your former employer, you might face challenges in negotiating your terms of employment – including compensation and benefits. The company may assume that your eagerness to return will lead you to accept less competitive offers, potentially putting you at a disadvantage in salary discussions and negotiations.

Adjustment Challenges

Despite your previous experience with the company, returning after a period of absence can still present adjustment challenges. The workplace might have undergone changes, such as new team members, updated policies, or shifts in the company’s structure. Integrating seamlessly back into the work environment may require flexibility and open-mindedness to navigate these changes successfully.

Ultimately, deciding to go back to a previous job depends on your personal situation, what you want for your career and the details of the company’s offer. Considering the pros and cons can help you decide if returning to your old workplace matches your future career goals.

What You Should or Shouldn’t Do as a Boomerang Employee

If you find yourself considering the prospect of becoming a boomerang employee and returning to your former employer, it’s essential to approach this opportunity with a thoughtful and strategic mindset. Reconnect with your former colleagues and bosses, and use these connections for collaboration and support. Make sure to be open to changes and show enthusiasm for returning. Share your outside experiences for fresh ideas and always aim for career growth by expressing your ambition to advance within the company.

Don’t dwell on past issues; focus on making a positive impact in your current role. Adapt well to new team dynamics and follow updated company policies. Expand your network by connecting with new employees to promote a sense of belonging and create growth opportunities. Following these guidelines will help you make the most of your boomerang experience and achieve your career goals in your former organisation.


Boomerang employees are on the rise, showing a big change in the professional world. Although being a boomerang employee can offer unique benefits: 

  • It is also crucial to weigh the potential drawbacks before making a decision. As you contemplate going back or trying something new, think about your goals and the company’s situation.
  • Be open to changes and growth to ensure a fulfilling career journey. Remember, your choice should match your goals and help you improve at work.

Is being a boomerang employee in your future? Are you still uncertain about your next step? Head over to our career page for a fresh and new opportunity with PERSOLKELLY.

Tending SME market – food for thought for small accounting practices

In this blog, we discuss the significant role of SMEs in the Australian economy, their limited access to large financial sources, and the challenges they face during economic crises. The post-pandemic recovery creates opportunities for small to medium-sized accounting practices to grow and provide tailored solutions to SMEs. The key is to address SMEs’ unique needs, cost-effective measures and innovative ideas to navigate the current economic landscape.

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in the Australian economy. They contribute 54% to the total GDP across a range of industries, making them the top employers of the nation’s business workforce, with 41% of employees. However, SMEs have limited access to large financial sources, making them fragile during economic crises. The COVID-19 pandemic created supply-side shocks globally, leading to price pressure for SMEs trying to correspond to the market demand.

The Australian economy is recovering from the pandemic quicker than other developed nations, and the recovery period is expected to end by the end of the second half of 2023. This change has significant implications for small to medium-sized accounting practices. As the economy recovers, these practices will have more opportunities to grow their business, service more clients and increase their ability to provide business services, tax consultancy, and financial planning.

With this positive turnaround, there are also more job opportunities for accountants in public practice. Accounting firms are increasingly paying at competitive levels and providing flexibility, support, and mentoring far beyond what commercial enterprises can offer. This shift is a significant change from previous trends where accounting firms paid less than industry/commercial companies.

However, the macroeconomic environment will continue to impact SMEs from various channels, such as reduced consumer spending, inflation, increasing wages, skill shortages, and bad debts. SMEs in high financial debt are at a higher risk of bankruptcy, while those with less financial stress are concerned about lower profit margins. In the first half of the 2023 recovery period, slower business activities, cost-effective solutions, limited employment, and consequently low economic growth are expected.

Therefore, it is essential for small accounting practices to consider these challenges and focus on strategies to support SMEs in these uncertain times. The key is to provide tailored solutions that address their unique needs, including financial support, cost-effective measures, and innovative ideas that can help SMEs navigate through the current economic landscape. This approach will help small accounting practices not only survive but thrive in the post-pandemic economy.

PERSOLKELLY Australia is a leading recruitment company that can help businesses find the right employees to meet their business needs in the Accounting and Finance space. Our experienced recruitment team uses a range of sourcing methods and selection tools to identify and attract top talent. We work closely with clients to understand their specific requirements and culture, ensuring we find candidates who fit the job and the organisation.

Contact us today.

How much is your time worth when it comes to a new hire?

Recruitment is a crucial process for any business, as it helps to identify and attract the most talented and qualified candidates for job openings. However, it can also be a painful and time-consuming task for hiring managers, particularly for those who lack experience in the hiring process. Fortunately, partnering with a professional recruitment company can bring numerous benefits, making it a wise investment for any business.

One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing recruitment is that it saves time and resources. A dedicated recruitment company can handle all aspects of the hiring process, from screening resumes to scheduling interviews, allowing hiring managers to focus on their core responsibilities. This can be particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have a dedicated HR department, as it can help them avoid the cost of hiring additional staff.

Another key advantage of working with a  recruitment partner is the access to a wider pool of talent. Recruitment companies typically have a vast network of candidates, including passive candidates who are not actively looking for work but may be open to new opportunities. This can be especially beneficial for businesses seeking to fill specialized or hard-to-fill positions, as it can be challenging for internal recruiters to reach these candidates.

Finally, outsourcing recruitment can also lead to better-quality hires. Professional recruiters have extensive experience in assessing candidate skills, qualifications, and experience. They can use their expertise to identify the best candidates for the job and ensure that they are a good fit for the company culture. This can help businesses reduce the risk of hiring the wrong candidate, which can be costly in terms of time and resources.

Partnering with PERSOLKELLY can bring numerous benefits to businesses, including saving time and resources, accessing a wider pool of both passive and active talent and making better-quality hires. By leaving recruitment to the experts, hiring managers can focus on their core responsibilities and ensure that their business has access to the best talent available.

Contact us today.

Amelia Collins on leadership for International Women’s Day

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, PERSOLKELLY spoke with Amelia Collins to talk about her role as a leader in the workplace, what inspires and defines her to “Work, and Smile” in her work and personal life, and her views on diversity, inclusion, and equality (DI&E).

Amelia currently leads the Marketing and Branding team at PERSOLKELLY and Programmed Staffing for the APAC region as Regional Director, Head of Marketing. She is known for being passionate about her work. She believes that finding meaning and purpose in your work is crucial to having the energy to take on challenges and be creative. Amelia is always looking for new ways to solve old problems and inspire and motivate others to do the same.

Amelia is also a qualified fitness instructor in indoor cycling, strength training, barre, and TRX, among others. She is married and a mother of one child and a stepmother of one daughter.

Read more about Amelia and her views on leadership below. We hope her story will inspire women in the workplace in one way or another.

Q: When you started your career, did you envision playing the role you’re in today?
AC: Actually, I have never spent too much time thinking too far into the future, and I am not the kind of person who sets lofty goals. Instead, I like to focus on doing well where I am at the moment, and then set goals that are challenging but achievable – I call that micro-ambition, meaning I work with purpose and intention to achieve whatever I have in front of me at the moment.

Q: Please tell us how you got a job in the recruitment industry.
AC: My experience in marketing and branding initially brought me to Programmed as a consultant to help the Australian and New Zealand team to build their digital marketing capabilities. That said, I have always been interested in HR and recruitment. So, when I was offered the opportunity to join this large and leading company, I jumped right in.

Amelia presenting at the Fremantle Football Club ‘Power of Sport’ event.

Q: Now that you are leading the marketing and branding team at PERSOLKELLY and Programmed, what are your thoughts on the role of a female leader in the workplace and what makes a good leader?
AC: In my opinion, having female leaders in the workplace should be as normal as it is in any other role in life. The truth is, women take on leadership roles every day – as mothers, sisters, friends, and partners – all of which require similar and complementary skills to those needed for successful leadership in the workplace. Skills like listening, coaching, pragmatism, discipline, communication, the ability to see both short and long-term, adaptability, multitasking, and prioritisation. And these are skills we often learn outside the workplace that can contribute to how we behave and perform in the workplace.

With that in mind, no workplace should lack women leaders because the world is made up of them. I believe that a good leader is curious, open-minded, interested, and interesting. Great leaders do not have to be the best at everything; they build trust and know how to bring out the best in others.

Q: How do you balance your career, your personal life (as a wife and mother), and your passion? Do you think there is such a thing as balance?
AC: I personally believe that there is no real or true work-life balance because balance suggests all things are equal. For me, it’s more like juggling; I juggle a whole range of things – my family and parenting roles, friendships, mental and physical health, my passions, travel, and of course, my professional role.

There will be some days, weeks, or even months when my work gets the best of me. And to deal with this, I need to acknowledge, accept, and take a few things out of the juggle when this happens. That then helps create space to fill it back up with the elements that make it all worthwhile. And if I feel things are too overwhelming, I will always prioritise sleep, because without sleep we will never be our best for ourselves or others.

Q: What do you think about the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace?
AC: Diversity, equality, and inclusion are essential to a successful business. For far too long, businesses, corporations, and governments have ignored the gaps. And when there are gaps in corporate culture, those small gaps create big holes in a company. And without a real focus on accelerating change to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, many companies will continue to operate with blind spots and fail to achieve what is possible.

That’s why we should all strive for a workplace that reflects the community – not just our local community, but a global community.

Q: What do you think are the challenges women face in the workplace today, and how do you think they can be overcome?
AC: In most cultures, women are still expected to be the primary caregiver for children, ageing parents, or extended family. Recognising and supporting this important leadership role that women play outside of the workplace will only benefit the culture and performance of these people in a company.

Women often face workplace cultures or individuals within those cultures whose thinking has not evolved to understand and appreciate the importance of DEI. This is a challenge. When I feel challenged by these people or actions, I choose to rise above them or find a way around them.

Q: What advice do you have for women who want to advance their careers?
AC: I was once told to never apologise for being ambitious. Because it means you care. Set achievable but challenging goals – on a micro or macro level. A great leader will give you honest and open feedback so you can grow. They would never discourage you from aiming for the next position without giving you clear feedback on the steps you need to take to get there, whether in terms of skills, behaviours, or experience.

Q: Who are the women that have inspired you?
AC: The women I often admire are athletes. I find their commitment to their craft and the discipline with which they need to succeed inspiring. High performance combined with healthy behaviours – that’s how I try to live.

But the women who have shaped me are those who have given me honest advice in my life so far, and who have allowed me to reflect, grow and achieve.

Q: Lastly, how would you incorporate “Work, and Smile” into your work and how would you share PERSOLKELLY’s vision with your employees and clients?
AC: “Work, and Smile” to me is working with purpose and meaning. To achieve that, we first need to find an industry we believe in and then a company that aligns with our values. Be micro-ambitious, do well with what’s in front of you, and you will work and always smile. For me, “Work, and Smile” is about being a great leader, so I can support and empower them to create their own purpose of “Work, and Smile”. And to bring this to life, I’ll keep talking about it, sharing it, and encouraging others to do the same.

“Work, and Smile” can be lived every day – in moments big and small.

Amelia with part of her team from Australia (left) and Singapore (right).

At PERSOLKELLY, we want to recognise the presence of every woman and her contribution to the workplace. As a company, we are committed to providing equal opportunities for all genders and helping women find well-suited/desired roles in the marketplace. In line with our vision of “Work, and Smile”, we believe in putting people first and creating a positive workplace culture where they can thrive and grow to be effective leaders. In the words of Michelle Obama, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”.

We’re always on the hunt for great people to join our team. If you’re confident and caring, proactive and passionate, smart and resourceful, and want to kick-start or continue your career in helping others achieve their career goals, then we’d love to hear from you.

To register your interest in a future with PERSOLKELLY, visit our careers page.

Five reasons to consider a career in recruitment

By Kurt Gillam, Executive General Manager PERSOLKELLY Australia.

The field of recruitment is not only fast-paced, challenging and dynamic, but it also offers a plethora of opportunities. Consultants can not only advance their own career trajectory but help others with their own careers as well. If you’re looking for a new direction, a move into recruitment could be worth considering.

Here are five reasons to consider a recruitment career:

1. Gain valuable and in-demand skills
One of the great things about working in recruitment is the skills you gather while working in the industry. A role in recruitment can build your interpersonal, communication and relationship management skills. These skills are all transferable to other industries, making them invaluable no matter which field you may choose to work in future. Recruitment is extremely people-focused and centres around interacting with a variety of individuals in a range of situations. Helping you develop soft and interactive skills and gain experience dealing with people from all walks of life.

Recruiters can conduct job matching, character assessments, interviews, background checks and due diligence in a typical day. As such, the job naturally suits analytical and organised individuals with excellent time management skills. A job in recruitment will help you learn and further develop a range of easily transferable skills that you’ll continue to draw on for years to come, no matter what industry you end up in.

2. Help others while you also advance
A career in recruitment means regularly interacting with employers and job seekers, helping you improve your interpersonal skills and active listening ability. It’s important to be able to carefully listen to both clients and candidates to find out exactly what they’re looking for. Doing so can vastly improve your problem-solving skills and foster critical thinking while helping individuals and companies find their perfect matches.

Finding good fits for both active or passive job seekers and organisations will widen your understanding of the job market and how it differs between industries and roles. Finding these perfect fits involves interacting with hiring managers, human resources teams and high-profile positions with companies, helping you build up a valuable range of connections.

You may use these connections to help find candidates or even for the advancement of your own career.

3. It’s a fast-moving and ever-changing industry
Recruitment is dynamic, offering countless opportunities for change and growth. As industries and job markets change, the recruitment industry evolves. New technologies have come along and transformed the way the recruitment process is conducted. From paperless applications, and digital background checks through to remote video interviews and testing suites. While application Tracking Systems (ATS) have streamlined and automated parts of the hiring process.

Advancing technologies have also brought about numerous improvements in learning opportunities available to recruiters, such as online training and conferences. You’ll have the chance to develop leadership skills, set clear directions and be agile as you advance through your career in recruitment. 

4. Autonomy can assist in better mental health
Recruitment is a people business that revolves around servicing the needs of candidates and clients. Like many roles over the past few years, recruitment has become more agile and flexible in terms of the location in which work is conducted. As consultants will often meet with clients and candidates both in and out of the office, it’s a career that suits driven individuals that thrive working autonomously.

According to Mental Health UK, autonomy in the workplace can help promote better mental health and even prevent excess stress and burnout.

5. It’s an in-demand profession
The 2021 Business Market Insights report predicted that the online recruitment industry in APAC is expected to grow from USD6.8 billion in 2021 to USD12.4 billion by 2028, nearly doubling in just seven years.

As the job market continues to boom after being heavily impacted by the pandemic, the search for clients will ensure the demand for qualified recruitment consultants remains high. Resulting in great prospects for those either already in the industry or looking to enter recruitment.

There’s no doubt that a career in an established recruitment firm has many long-term benefits for your career. Transferrable skills, and building your network while also helping candidates achieve their career goals are just a few of the things to be gained from a career in the industry.

Once you build your career, the rewards are endless. Quite often, there is nothing quite as rewarding that the long-term friendships that you will build with your colleagues as a result of working in a vibrant company culture, however, you will have the opportunity to get back from what you put in – be it interstate or overseas travel, awards and prizes, learning and development opportunities, promotions and uncapped earning potential. The sky really is the limit.

If you’re looking for a change to a challenging yet rewarding job, then a role in recruitment could be the perfect move for you. You never know where it’ll take you.

We’re always on the hunt for great people to join our team. If you’re confident and caring, proactive and passionate, smart and resourceful, and want to kick-start or continue your career in helping others achieve their career goals, then we’d love to hear from you.

To register your interest in a future with PERSOLKELLY, visit our careers page.

Why we should Quit Quiet Quitting

By Foo See Yang, Managing Director & Country Head of PERSOLKELLY Singapore

In recent months, a new term has been trending on the popular social media platform TikTok, called “quiet quitting”. At the same time, in an article by the World Economic Forum, the hashtag #QuietQuitting hit 17 million views on TikTok, and currently trending with 317.5 million views worldwide.

Although not a new concept, “quiet quitting” refers to when overwhelmed and overworked employees resort to only doing the bare minimum to get by at work. Quiet quitters may have no intention of leaving but do not want to participate in the hustle culture. Quiet quitting is seen as a form of employee disengagement, a protest against an imbalanced work-life balance, and a form of noncompliance. While the employee is still fulfilling job responsibilities, they refuse to take on new responsibilities and adhere to the job description that was given. These employees will not go the extra mile and decline new projects or stop volunteering for tasks.

In this article, you will learn more about the causes that lead employees to disengage from work, the effects it has on a company, and what employees and employers can do to prevent employee disengagement.

Recently, we ran a poll on LinkedIn and found out that there are some common factors that cause employees to quietly quit their jobs:

1.   Lack of Managerial Support

Over a third (36%) of respondents voted that the reason employees quiet quit is because their manager doesn’t appreciate their effort. Working under a leader who does not support their team will discourage and demotivate them to endure difficulties at work. A caring and considerate supervisor can do much to keep employees motivated and maintain employee engagement. However, they are more likely to withdraw if the supervisors do not support them. When employees feel their managers will not help them, they put up barriers.

2.   Poorly Compensated

Around a third (34%) of respondents said that the reason employees quietly quit is because the pay does not justify the effort. So they “only do the work that they are paid for”. Many quiet quitters strongly feel that they are poorly compensated for the effort they put into the work they have to do. And because of that, they decrease their efforts. Often, they have demanded better compensation but have been rebuffed or stalled, or these workers feel that the employer will not meet those demands. Aside from money, the issue is one of respect. If they are not rewarded for their extra work, they feel that the employer does not properly appreciate their sacrifice and effort. This would then lead to workers feeling exploited.

3. Overworked and Overstressed

Around a quarter (26%) of respondents voted that the reason employees quietly quit is because they no longer enjoy their work. This may be due to overwork or overstress. Quiet quitters were once passionate employees, but became overworked and overstressed, leading to employee burnout. Increased workload comes from staff turnover, where other employees must take over the workload before a new employee is hired, rather than the supervisor reducing the workload. This problem causes employees to become exhausted and frustrated.

Here are 3 consequences of quiet quitting in the workplace:

1.   Disengagement and Dissatisfaction

The two most common effects are disengagement and an employee’s dissatisfaction with his or her job and workplace. Silent quitters work and cooperate but find no meaning in their work and often feel apathetic.

2.   Stagnating Career Growth

To advance professionally, employees must take on new challenges and responsibilities. However, if employees refuse to expand their skills through new challenges and responsibilities, then they are just being stagnant. By doing so, they are only sabotaging their career.

3.   Decreased Output

One of the most obvious effects is the reduced work output of a quiet quitter. They may be meeting the minimum requirements for their job. Creativity and collaboration are also affected when an employee decides to quietly quit.

So, what can employees do to quit quiet quitting? Here are 3 tips:

1.   Be Efficient

It’s important to achieve a good work-life balance, but we still need to be committed when we are on the job. So, make sure that time is used efficiently during working hours – focus on doing the job well.

2.   Take Ownership

Employees need to take responsibility for their career growth and understand why they feel burned out and why they have resorted to quietlyquitting. It is not sustainable if the role does not give the employee a greater sense of purpose and appreciation at work.

3.   Communicate With the Employer and Not On Social Media

Before employees express why they are quietly quitting on their social media platforms, it is better to seek an open and honest conversation with your direct supervisor. Take this conversation with the employer as an opportunity to share feedback with them – be very specific. Have an honest and open conversation, but be professional.. However, in addressing the issue of quiet quitters and employee burnout, employers and management must also play their part.

3 ways employers can solve the quiet quitting crisis in their workplace:

1.   Make Sure Employees Feel Valued

Employers need to make sure their employees are valued for their contribution, skills, and work. A Gallup Workhuman survey found that in companies where employee recognition is a high priority, employees are 56% less likely to look for a new job. A good start would be to recognise milestones in employees’ lives, such as work anniversaries and birthdays, and celebrate goals achieved or projects completed.

2.   Invest in Employee Well-being

Employee well-being and engagement work together. Therefore, employers should prioritise employee well-being by offering support and assistance programmes when employees are struggling. Other well-being benefits could include:

i.          Weekly massages;
ii.          Office meditation classes during lunch break;
iii.         Providing the option of flexible work schedules ;
iv.         Encouraging employees to leave on time and take regular breaks and etc.

3.   Keeping People Engaged in Their Work

It is important to recognise and value one’s contributions to build employee ownership of their work. Employers should create an open space for their employees to express their ideas and discuss solutions relating to work. Employers need to listen to their employees, especially younger employees, as this not only makes them feel valued but also makes them feel more connected to their work. This is even more important for younger workers as they are looking for a space to be heard.

It can be difficult to detect because some signs may be unintentional or stem from other types of conflict. However, it would be a good start to address changes in your employees’ well-being, performance, and concerns.


Despite being a trend in TikTok videos, Insider found that there are many TikTok users discouraging people from doing so. Remember that communication is key – not social media, but open and professional communication with your employers about your challenges at work. For employers, it is important to continually provide an environment that encourages staff to thrive in the workplace. As for employees, whatever the reason may be, they need to recognise that quietly quitting may hurt their future more than making the move to a new job and a better workplace. Whatever the workforce challenges, look for the opportunity to speak to your leader. There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain in this. Even if the conversation does not work out, you can still look out for other doors of opportunity more suitable for you and your lifestyle. We spend one third of our life at work. It is important to find a role within an organisation that allows you to Work, and Smile.

2022-23 PERSOLKELLY and Programmed’s Economic and Employment Key Insights and Salary Guide

Australia and New Zealand have made significant progress in their economic recoveries after a couple of years of disruption due to the pandemic and overseas turmoil.

Organisations of all types and sizes are dealing with a host of economic challenges following the setbacks and restrictions of COVID-19 and a fresh set of obstacles confront businesses in both countries.

Chief amongst these is the acute labour shortage that is compounding the difficulties for business managers in both retaining existing staff and developing the workforce capability for growth and expansion.

We are seeing historically low levels of unemployment in both countries. With immigration yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, the challenge of filling vacancies and acquiring skills is set to remain for some time.

The other big development is the outbreak of inflation and associated rising interest rates. As in other developed economies, both Australia and New Zealand are being forced to confront an economic phenomenon that has been largely dormant for close to 50 years and, once again, deal with the many challenges this brings for wages, interest rates and the cost of living.

Our 2022-23 PERSOLKELLY and Programmed Economic and Employment Key Insights and Salary Guide offers a wide-ranging analysis of both Australia and New Zealand’s economies, including at state, territory and region levels as well as a dive into the forces at play in each of the industry sectors in which we operate.

The Salary Guide compiles accurate information on wages and salaries from our experts in the field across key industry sectors. This comprehensive report has become a valued and indispensable tool for those wishing to understand the movement of wages and salaries across a range of occupations and positions in both Australia and New Zealand.

Below is a peek at some of the standout insights from the report.

After a lengthy COVID hibernation, Australia’s economy has bounced back strongly as consumers and businesses have regained their confidence.

  • 3.3% annual GDP growth
  • 3.9% record unemployment rate
  • 5.1% annual inflation rate, the highest in 20 years

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra’s economy has been resilient in the face of COVID lockdowns and looks likely to benefit from a change of national government.

New South Wales
The most populous state has bounced back from COVID faster than expected, and it has a vast pipeline of infrastructure work that will propel its fortunes.

Turmoil on the international stage initially dealt a heavy blow to Queensland’s economy, but the tide has turned and the state is now reaping rewards.

South Australia
The state’s recovery has been quicker than forecast but there is work to do to rebuild confidence and create jobs.

The state endured some of its darkest days during the pandemic as businesses shut and the population was locked down, but activity is now bouncing back.

Western Australia
The state incurred much flak for its rigid approach to border closures during the COVID pandemic, but it now has the results to show for it.

Northern Territory
The loss of international tourists during the pandemic hit the Territory especially hard but it has provided the chance to diversify and attract new industries.

The island state belies its size with an outperforming economy and a newfound appeal from those on the mainland attracted to its lifestyle.

New Zealand
As the country emerges from the COVID pandemic, it faces an outbreak of a different kind that has policymakers worried. After years of tepid price increases, inflation has broken out in New Zealand and prompted swift action to raise interest rates and curtail spending.

  • 6.9% inflation rate
  • 5.6% annual GDP growth
  • Jobless rate at near-record low

New Zealand’s largest city was the epicentre of COVID-related lockdowns and saw its economic performance suffer as businesses closed their doors.

The city has been able to sidestep pandemic restrictions on business and fall back on its traditional mainstays to produce an outsized economic performance.

The nation’s capital was insulated from the worst of the pandemic and has started to rebound. Wellington has weathered much of the country’s economic slowdown, largely as a result of a more resilient workforce that has not incurred the same setbacks as in other parts of New Zealand.

Click here to download the 2022-23 PERSOLKELLY and Programmed Economic and Employment Key Insights and Salary Guide today to find out more. Or talk to one of our consultants who can talk through how to use the guide to improve your attraction and retention strategies.

Careers with us: Thania Kristiansen

We’re committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and positive workplace. Our teams are reflective of the communities in which we operate, and we value the unique contribution each member makes to PERSOLKELLY.

Thania Kristiansen is our Senior Recruitment Consultant, based in Auckland. This is her story.

What has been your path to PERSOLKELLY?

I started my career in recruitment working for South America’s largest oil and gas corporation. At the time, they were implementing a gas pipeline and needed someone to recruit and manage the HR side. After the project ended, I asked myself what am I doing next? Back then, Emirates Airlines were conducting a recruitment campaign in Brazil, and I decided to apply. I secured the job and moved to Dubai where I had the opportunity to travel to over 160 countries and work with many different nationalities on board. Flying for Emirates gave me a unique perspective on life, and I loved it. After having a baby girl, I wanted to spend more time with family and managed to secure a position in Emirates’ internal HR Recruitment team solely headhunting pilots globally. It was an amazing experience and fascinating to learn how Emirates changed their recruitment strategies according to different countries and cultures. At the time, my kiwi husband got offered a job in New Zealand and we decided to relocate to Auckland. When I first arrived, I continued my recruitment career, however within the industrial sector, until I found PERSOLKELLY. I fell in love with the brand, the core values and the management style of the organisation, and have loved every day of my job ever since!

What roles have you held at PERSOLKELLY?

I currently work for PERSOLKELLY in Auckland, as a Senior Recruitment Consultant, focusing permanent positions across professional and industrial sectors, as well as temp and casual white-collar positions. I recruit for a wide range of sectors like government, facilities management, manufacturing, property services, marketing, retail, ICT.

Did you learn different skills?

Absolutely, I learn new things every day. I have the amazing opportunity to recruit for companies I’d never worked with before and learn about their business, their culture and what they look for in an individual. I also love to recruit for our internal team and help to build the organisational culture at PERSOLKELLY.

Biggest lessons learnt in your career?

To not take things personally. Sometimes you give your absolute best, but things don’t turn out the way you initially planned, it’s not your fault! Focus on aspects that are within your control, work with integrity and dedication, and strive to do your best every day!

Best advice you were given?

“People won’t remember what you said, but the way you treated them”. Often, we don’t remember exactly what people said, but we never forget how they made us feel, and this is very true in recruitment. We need clients and candidates to have a positive experience and it starts with us. We may not know all the answers, but it’s the way we conduct the interviews or client conversations that make people think of us whenever they have recruitment needs.

Why do you love working at PERSOLKELLY?

I love the people; they are my second family! I also love the positive energy and enthusiasm in the office and the organization. I love to recruit for our partner company Programmed and grow with them. I have the opportunity to recruit employees for some of the biggest companies in New Zealand, and that is very satisfying and rewarding.

Why will others love working with us?

We love to make people feel welcome and recognized! Working at PERSOLKELLY, you’ll feel respected, supported, and professionally challenged. I love the fact we work together as a team, bounce ideas off each other, and have sounding boards! Together, we can achieve even better results. We also have an excellent individual incentive structure! In the last 12 months, I’ve been promoted, received a salary increment in recognition of my effort, and I’ve been incentivized more than I could’ve imagined!

What you love about our offices?

We are in the heart of the Auckland CBD, with an incredible view of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, waterfront and 360-degree views. We’re close to motorway exits, Britomart, and bus-stops. We’re very lucky to be surrounded by amazing cafes, restaurants, bars, and several retail shops. Our offices are modern, filled with natural light and a lovely set up, with break out areas too.

How do you feel PERSOLKELLY provides you with flexibility and work/life balance?

Wellbeing inside and outside of work is very important to PERSOLKELLY, and they believe in supporting people, whether that is working from home or occasionally leaving early to pick up your kids from school. This is great because they recognize the importance that we all have lives outside of work and how that contributes to our happiness and performance.

We’re always on the hunt for great people to join our team. If you’re confident and caring, proactive and passionate, smart and resourceful, and want to kick-start or continue your career in helping others achieve their career goals, then we’d love to hear from you.

To register your interest in a future with PERSOLKELLY, visit our careers page.

New Zealand Budget 2021

A fine balancing act to keep growth on track

Thursday’s Budget was a stark reminder of how close New Zealand came to an economic catastrophe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than the full-scale economic recession that looked certain 12 months ago, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was able to deliver a 2021 Budget with a remarkably upbeat outlook.

The country has bounced back quickly from the sharpest fall in its history, and all the key indicators are headed in the right direction.

The Key takeaways

  • $57bn four-year infrastructure spend
  • $3.6bn social welfare lift
  • Extended training incentives
  • Industry transformation
  • Housing market slowdown
A remarkable recovery

The Budget forecasts real GDP growth of 2.9% in the year ending June 2021, which will increase to 3.2% in 2021-22 and 4.4% the following year.

The unemployment rate, which a year ago was forecast to reach 10%, is currently at 4.7% and is forecast to fall to 4.2%, with an additional 200,000 people entering employment over the next four years. Wages are forecast to grow by 3%.

Exports are forecast to grow by an average 5.8% over the next four years and business investment by almost 6% a year.

New Zealand’s recovery to date has been stronger than in many other developed economies and demonstrates the economic dividend that has accrued from managing the pandemic.

The international story is stark – between December 2017 and December 2020, New Zealand’s GDP increased by 4.2% compared with 3.4% in Australia, 2.5% in the US, and falls of 2.8% in the Euro area and 5% in the UK.

The budget deficit in the current 2021 financial year is forecast to be about half of what was predicted a year ago, yet the impact of COVID-induced spending will see budget deficits out to at least 2025.

New Zealand’s net government debt currently stands at about 40% of GDP – an unthinkable level just a few years ago, but not so alarming when compared to countries such as Canada (47%), Australia (54%), UK (105%) and US (110%).

The first Budget in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s second term was described by the Finance Minister as one aimed at ‘securing our recovery’ and it could have emulated the recent Australian Budget with a massive spending boost to lock in growth.

But unlike in Australia, New Zealand is more than two years away from the next election, so the government could afford to be more prudent in its spending.

Hence, there was a more targeted array of spending with the biggest focus on social security, but with big injections in infrastructure, transport, skills training and manufacturing – areas that will help to secure longer-term productivity gains.

A centrepiece is the $3.6 billion, four-year commitment to tackle inequality by lifting social security benefits by between $32 and $55 a week, in line with a recent recommendation of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

The welfare changes tie in with the aim of the stimulus package and take effect in two stages – July this year and April next year – and will see a single adult Jobseeker about $48 a week better off.


The standout item on the spending side is a $57.3 billion programme of infrastructure spending over the period to 2025.

It includes a $4 billion expansion of the multi-year capital allowance, taking it to $12 billion over the four-year period.

There is an estimated $10 billion of investment in roads and public transport projects, $1.3 billion extra for rail freight, $761 million for capital funding in the education portfolio, and $700 million for District Health Boards’ capital investment.

Investment in training and skills reform

The government has built on its COVID-related apprenticeship funding support by extending the Training Incentive Allowance to level four to seven qualifications, designed to enable an estimated 16,000 sole parents, disabled people and carers to gain degree-level qualifications.

There will also be almost $280 million to reform of vocational education in order to create a unified funding system.

Up to 60,000 small businesses will be able to access digital skills training through a $44 million digital skills programme.

Transforming critical industries

There is a strong focus on steps to help rebuild industries most impacted by COVID and others which are critical to future prosperity and capability.

The government will develop Industry Transformation Plans across seven areas where it believes there is a global competitive advantage or where transformation is needed to increase productivity.

These selected industries are advanced manufacturing, agritech, food and beverage, digital, construction, tourism, and forestry and wood processing.

Cooling a hot housing market

One intriguing element of the Budget is the governments’ ongoing efforts to slow galloping home prices and address the escalating problem of housing affordability.

The Budget papers show that Treasury estimates annual house price increases will peak at 17% in June this year before dropping to under 1% over the next few years.

The Budget papers concede that this will be a “sharp adjustment but a very necessary one.”

“The Government’s concern is not just that house price growth was unsustainable, but also that the balance was too much in favour of speculators and investors and away from first home buyers,” the Budget papers say.

The government has already intervened to dampen the housing market by adjusting lending ratios and is now pouring $3.8 billion into a Housing Acceleration Fund to increase housing supply.

Protecting New Zealanders from infection

There is no avoiding the ongoing cost of COVID-19 management.

The government has allocated just under $1.5 billion to the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme, including just over $1 billion for advanced purchase agreements for vaccines.

A total of $4.7 billion has been devoted to the health budget including for the transition to a new health system and establishment of a Māori Health Authority.

There was also a renewed commitment to the promised Social Unemployment Insurance scheme which would provide workers who lose their jobs around 80% of their income, with minimum and maximum caps.

While the latest Budget is about managing the path out of COVID, there is also a strong social justice end equity element that is a hallmark of the government.

Indeed, the Finance Minister makes clear that it is part of a three-Budget strategy to alleviate poverty, address educational opportunity and tackle climate change. As he says, “we cannot deliver everything in one Budget”.

Trying to manage the balance between social equity and economic responsibility was one of the key aims of this document.

Many were urging greater spending, while others despair at the size of government and the legacy of debt that has flowed.

In the end, the Budget seems both ambitious and appropriate. When governments everywhere, even conservative ones such as in Australia are on a spendathon, New Zealand’s latest offering seems modest by comparison.

Unless stated otherwise, information was sourced from the New Zealand Government Budget 2021 documents, ministerial statements, media releases and portfolio papers: budget.govt.nz. This is general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice from Programmed. Programmed is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your unique circumstances. Programmed is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided. Featured photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash.

Together, Programmed and PERSOLKELLY are the leading providers of staffing, operations and maintenances services across Australia and New Zealand and one of the largest workforce solutions providers in the APAC region.

From market-leading staffing programs to advanced people management, innovation and technology; we support your business to navigate and stay ahead of the rapidly changing world of work. 

Together our experienced, capable team of problem-solvers will help you achieve more.

*Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash)