West Coast on a global hunt for new ‘Coasters’

28 October 2022
Development West Coast
The West Coast has launched a new recruitment campaign looking for those who are ‘Cut out for the Coast’.

“The Coast is a special place that attracts a special kind of person and we’re on the hunt for a few more of them to fill some great jobs and join the Coast community,” says Development West Coast (DWC) chief executive Heath Milne.

The campaign is a collaboration between DWC, Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai o Poutini West Coast and the local business community aimed at attracting workers who are ‘Cut out for the Coast.’

“We’re looking for people who are sick of the crowds, cars and commercialism of the city, and would prefer a bit more space,” Milne says.

Justin Venable is a senior medical officer from Louisiana, USA who has lived on the West Coast for 16 years.

“The Coast is perfect for the kind of person who wants to be a weekday warrior, not necessarily just a weekend warrior,” he says.

“There are so many opportunities, from hunting and fishing, from growing your own food and vegetables to paragliding, mountaineering, canyoning to kayaking. It’s all on tap.”

The first stage of the ‘Cut out for the Coast’ campaign will have a specific focus on the healthcare industry.

Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast’s general manager Philip Wheble says there are currently over 50 full time equivalent (FTE) vacancies in nursing across services including in aged care, primary care, ED, mental health and inpatient services.

“There are approximately 11 FTE vacancies in Allied Health including dental therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, laboratory assistants, anaesthetic technicians and community support workers.

“We’re also looking for GPs, psychiatrists, and rural generalists,” Wheble says.

Heath Milne says there are a lot of great job opportunities across all industries on the Coast for those looking to skip a few rungs on the career ladder.

Data from economic consultancy Infometrics shows economic growth in the region increased by 4.2% over the year to June 2022 – the highest rate in the country.

“The local job market has been strong on the back of this growth,” Milne says.

Over the past year there have been 234 new filled jobs on the West Coast. Job numbers increased from 14,454 in August 2021 to 14,689 in August 2022, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Over the same period there has been a drop in Jobseeker recipients, with 123 less West Coasters receiving Jobseeker benefits. The Ministry of Social Development reports Jobseeker recipient numbers fell from 1,527 in August 2021 to 1,404 in August 2022.

SEEK also reports a 27% increase in job listings on the West Coast over the past year.

Many West Coast businesses and organisations are crying out for staff, Milne says.

Sophie Carey, a clinical lead nurse from Australia, has lived in the region for about 13 months.

“Good salaries and affordable housing mean we get much more value for our money on the Coast."

Sophie Carey | Clinical lead nurse from Australia

“We moved to the Coast and bought a house because it’s more affordable … and meant we could have a house with a view. A house that backs onto the bush ... close to the river and beach, all in one.”

The median house price on the West Coast is $355,060, compared to the national average of $1,009,662, according to Infometrics.

The West Coast leads the country in housing affordability with the cost of housing only 4.1 times the average household income in the region, compared to the national average of 8.5.

Nationally households spend 48.3% of their income on mortgage repayments. On the West Coast this rate is only 20.9%.

Chrysantha Pereira a clinical nurse manager from Mumbai, India who has lived in Greymouth for eight years, says the West Coast community is sociable and inclusive, “everyone is there to lend a hand.”