Business survey reveals optimism amidst challenges

21 September 2023
Development West Coast
A recent pulse survey captured the sentiments of 142 businesses on the West Coast, sharing their insights on the current business climate, growth prospects, and challenges.

The survey was a joint initiative by Development West Coast (DWC), Te Tai o Poutini West Coast Regional Skills Leadership Group, Tai Poutini Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (Buller, Grey, and Westland), and Upskill West Coast.

The survey unveiled that in the upcoming year, 40% of businesses are hopeful of expanding their workforce, while half expect their employee levels to remain unchanged. Only 4% foresee a reduction in their workforce.

On the recruitment front, 29% of businesses indicated they are currently actively recruiting. However, attracting staff remains a hurdle for some, with 38% finding it challenging.

Despite these recruitment challenges, businesses are proactively trying to draw and retain staff. 59% highlight pay and conditions as their main strategy, followed by flexible work options (47%) and promoting their business as a favourable workplace (46%).

If businesses cannot meet their workforce needs, 58% of owners would resort to working longer hours, while others might consider reducing services (26%) or cutting back on opening hours (17%).

Reflecting on the past year, businesses felt the situation was mixed, with 35% believing it had improved, but a quarter (25%) felt it had worsened. The main challenges cited were rising material or input costs, including transportation (56%), and government compliance and regulations (31%).

Optimism is strong for the coming year, with 45% expecting the general business situation to improve.

However, they foresee continuous challenges, notably rising material or input costs (56%) and staff retention (22%).

Highlighting the unique advantages of doing business on the West Coast, 81% cited the overall quality of life the region offers, and 31% noted the low cost of living.

The survey also provided valuable insights on the capability and training needs of local businesses.

Heath Milne, DWC chief executive, expressed appreciation for the businesses that provided feedback through the survey.

"Your insights will assist in developing actions to support businesses, improve workforce development, and ultimately contribute to the overall success of the West Coast region.”

West Coast business opinion survey: August 2023

Key takeaways

Over the next 12 months do you expect your employee levels to ...

12 month employee expectation

Do you find it challenging recruiting staff?

Challenges recruiting staff

How confident are you that you will be able to attract and retain the workforce you need?

Confidence in filling jobs

What actions will you need to take within your business if you cannot fulfil your workforce requirements? (top 3)

Actions if can't find staff

Compared to 12 months ago, do you feel the general business situation on the West Coast is ...

Business confidence 12 months ago

What were the greatest challenges to your business over the past 12 months? (top 3)

Challenges from last 12 months

For the next 12 months, do you expect the general business situation on the West Coast to ...

12 month outlook

What will be the greatest challenges to your business over the next 12 months? (top 3)

Challenges next 12 months

What additional training / personal development areas would be useful for your business? (top 4)

Training areas

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