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Research Results

Poll reveals scale of Canterbury's post quake employment issues

18 Mar 11

Credit: NZ Defence
Poll reveals scale of Canterbury's post quake employment issues
Christchurch post quake .. poll finds 50,000 have left, 6000 more planning to go

Up to half a million workers are prepared to go to Christchurch if there’s a guaranteed job, the money’s right and they are given a place to stay.


That’s the finding of an Allied Work Force-HorizonPoll conducted between March 12 and 15, 2011.


Mike Huddleston, AWF’s chief executive, says that is just as well because right now the demand for workers to help restore businesses is greater than the supply.


“We have had all sorts of agencies contact us to get pools of workers, but we have been unable to assist them because we are finding it hard enough to get the teams AWF needs for businesses,” Mr Huddleston says.


AWF is one of New Zealand’s largest employers of temporary staff across all sectors of industry.


The poll asked people in the workforce across the country if they would consider moving to Christchurch to work on its reconstruction. Just over 23%, which means potentially half a million people, said they would.


The nationwide survey had 1760 respondents. The maximum margin of error at 95% confidence level on the national result is +/- 2.4%


The biggest attraction for workers (34.1%) is more money than what they are earning now, followed by a guaranteed job (25%) and if accommodation is arranged (24.7%). The “challenge” is seen as attractive by 18.2%.


However, the poll waves a big red flag for Canterbury. Based on labour force statistics for Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Ashburton and Waimakariri, nearly 30,000 people (19.5%) are still thinking about leaving the earthquake affected area.


“New Zealand needs to find ways to convince those people who haven’t left yet to stay,” Mr Huddleston says.


The poll reveals about 50,112 (11.2%) of people have already left, another 6,060 who make up part of a family have left and a further 3,750 have already made up their minds to go.  


Of those who have left, 65% think they will return within three months, 16% say they might not return and only 7.9% of people who had jobs there are adamant that they will never go back.


Some have already found work outside of Canterbury, but just over half of those who left have not looked for new work yet.


The big issues people are considering in deciding whether to go back are work (53%), narrowly nudging out how the family feels about living there (50.3%), how well the region’s infrastructure is restored (49.8%), better work (46.6%) and being closer to friends (46.1%).


Those reasons come well ahead of fewer aftershocks (14.7%), no aftershocks (19.7%) or confidence that the devastation will not happen again (19.7%).


Nearly 50% of workers kept their job in Canterbury and a further 21% retained some of their work according to the poll, which had 239 Canterbury responses.


However, there is good news for those providing the means for businesses to be able to continue in the Canterbury area. Only 10% thought the response to achieve this was poor with 33.8% classing them as “good” and a further 6.5% as “excellent”.



Methodology: The survey was conducted by Horizon Research March 12 -15, 2011. Results are weighted by age, gender, personal income, region, ethnicity and party vote 2008 to provide a representative sample of the national population. Some sub sample sizes are small and results are indicative. At a 95% confidence level the maximum margin of error on the national results is +/- 2.4%


Top line results are here.


The survey, also covering other employment market issues nationwide, remains open.