Top 5 Hiring Trends for 2025: A Guide for New Zealand Business Owners

As we reach the mid-way point for 2024, hiring managers are beginning to look towards trends in 2025 in an attempt to get a head start. The landscape of hiring has seen significant changes driven by technological advancements, workforce changes, and the global change towards sustainability and inclusivity. For companies in New Zealand, staying ahead of these trends is crucial to attract top talent in the coming months and years. Here are our top 5 hiring trends that we believe will shape the future of recruitment in 2025.

Key Takeaways:

✓ Stay ahead of the hiring demand for tech skills, as they will increase in 2025.

✓ Offering hybrid/remote work is likely to be the norm by 2025.

✓ DEI will continue to be an important part of a company.

✓ The gig economy will continue to rise in 2025, make sure to utilise it.

✓ Promoting sustainability will attract top candidates.

1. Emphasis on Digital Skills and Tech Proficiency

To the surprise of no one, the digital boom continues to accelerate, and businesses across New Zealand are increasingly seeking candidates with strong digital skills. From data analytics and cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and blockchain, the demand for tech-savvy professionals is skyrocketing. Whilst the demand for direct tech positions like software developers in tech is clear, this trend is not confined to the tech industry alone. Sectors such as finance, healthcare, education, and retail are also increasingly looking for employees who can navigate digital tools and platforms, or develop specialised software in these industries.

What to do as a Business Owner

As the demand for tech roles rises, the cost of acquiring talent in this area will follow suit. Therefore, investing in identifying and recruiting talent with diverse digital skills is a great way to stay ahead. Another great strategy is to upskill your current tech employees, offering resources, workshops, and incentives to help them learn new and emerging tech skills that are relevant to your company industry and future goals.

2. Hybrid Work Models and Flexibility

The pandemic has left a permanent change in the way people work. With a hybrid model of work becoming the norm, employees now expect flexibility in where and how they work. With this becoming a necessity for lots of job seekers, companies are responding by offering remote and hybrid work options in hopes of attracting and retaining top talent. This is particularly relevant to Kiwi businesses, as we value our work-life balance highly.

What to do as a Business Owner

To make sure you don’t fall behind in what is expected from employees, it’s the norm to offer flexible work arrangements. When posting job openings, make sure you highlight remote and hybrid work models at your organisation. Alongside this, developing effective remote work policies and investing in tools that facilitate collaboration and communication in a hybrid work environment will mean that you’re not only fulfilling the needs of employees in terms of work structure, but also in collaboration and company culture.

3. Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has seen the shift from being a corporate buzzword to a critical part of businesses. This is a sign that companies are recognising the value of diverse and inclusive teams in driving innovation and better decision-making. In 2025, we expect DEI to be at the forefront of recruitment strategies, with businesses actively seeking to build a work environment that includes everyone.

What to do as a Business Owner

Implement DEI-focused recruitment practices within your organisation. This includes conducting a thorough review of your hiring process to identify and eliminate any biases present. You can also promote job opportunities to diverse talent pools or work with organisations that support underrepresented groups.

4. Rise of the Gig Economy and Freelance Work

As we have covered in our previous blog here, the gig economy is flourishing. With more and more professionals opting to freelance over traditional employment every day. This shift can also benefit companies, allowing for greater flexibility and access to more talent. In New Zealand, the gig economy is expected to grow as businesses look for specialised skills on a project-by-project basis.

What to do as a Business Owner

You can consider incorporating freelance and contract workers into your workforce strategy. Whilst having in-house talent is important, specific skills that may only be required for one project can be fulfilled by a contract worker without having to undergo a costly recruitment process. We encourage you to start building a network of reliable freelancers and contract workers that may be required in the future.

5. Sustainable and Ethical Hiring Practices

Sustainability and ethics are increasingly important to both companies and candidates. In 2025, we expect businesses to demonstrate their commitment to environmental and social responsibilities. This may be in the form of adopting sustainable hiring practices, like having virtual interviews, or by hiring for specific green roles to optimise the sustainability of their organisation. To discover which green careers are on the rise, see our blog here.

What to do as a Business Owner

To attract candidates who are increasingly focused on the sustainability of the companies they apply to, you should incorporate sustainability into your hiring process. Make sure you highlight your company’s CSR initiatives in job postings and during interviews. You can also educate your current team on the importance of sustainability to create a company culture that supports it.

Conclusion

Recruitment in New Zealand is changing rapidly, and staying ahead of this is essential. By focussing on digital skills, embracing hybrid work models, prioritising DEI, leveraging the gig economy, and adopting sustainable practices, you will be positioned to stay ahead of the trends and attract top talent in 2025 and beyond.

If you’re looking to increase your hiring efforts, need HR support or are interested in more insights and updates in the world of NZ recruitment, please reach out to us at Paragon Recruitment

Mastering Conflict Resolution: Essential Strategies for Business Owners and Managers

A business place is somewhere people from different ages, places, and beliefs exist and work together. Although, it can become a stressful environment with deadlines, money, and reputation at stake along with office politics and hierarchies. Therefore, it’s almost inevitable that conflicts will occur. They can happen in many ways, and can be between anyone in the company, including employees, managers, and even clients. In order to maintain a positive work environment, it’s essential to effectively maintain healthy relationships and be prepared to resolve conflicts among people in the workplace if, and when they occur. We will cover some key tactics and best practices for resolving conflicts in this blog.

Key Takeaways:

✓ A lack of understanding is at the heart of conflict

✓ Conflict should never end with a ‘winner’ and ‘loser’

✓ Stopping conflict before it happens in the best strategy

✓ Seek professional help if the conflict escalates

Understanding Conflict: The First Step Towards Resolution

Before resolving a conflict, it’s important to be able to identify them and grasp the nature of conflict itself. Conflict can arise from a number of sources, including differences in personality, communication style, or competing priorities. Furthermore, unresolved conflicts can escalate quickly, impacting morale, productivity, and ultimately the performance of the company.

In a company of a smaller size, it’s essential to recognise the signs of conflict early on, so that you can address them proactively.

As we discuss some various strategies, we will use the following scenario to demonstrate them:

Jane, the Marketing Manager, and John, the Sales Manager, are at odds. Jane is convinced that the marketing department’s creative campaigns are being undermined by the sales team’s aggressive sales tactics. John, on the other hand, feels like the marketing efforts are not aligned with the sales goals, resulting in missed opportunities and poor quality leads. Their conflict has led to arguments over what the other department should do to improve their strategy, and neither believe that they are wrong.

This scenario is a clear case of managerial conflict, and without its resolution, both departments will suffer as the overall customer acquisition strategy is not aligned. Let’s look at some ways of resolving this:

Strategy 1: Facilitate Open Dialogue

Many conflicts stem from a lack of understanding of the other person's perspective. Encouraging Jane and John to express their perspectives, concerns, and emotions openly and respectfully can help in promoting an understanding between the two. This can be done with a third-party present to ensure that the discussion does not evolve into another conflict.

In our mock scenario, a meeting is scheduled and run by their direct managers. Jane explains how the marketing campaign is designed for long-term brand value. John shares his frustration about the disconnect between the two, and that he will miss out on commission as he is unable to reach sales targets without an aggressive sales strategy. Both come to understand the other’s issues and rationale behind their decisions.

Strategy 2: Identify Common Ground

Oftentimes during conflict, both parties share common goals or interests. This can sometimes be what causes the conflict in the first place. By encouraging each party to recognise their similarities and areas of agreement, it can foster a sense of unity and cooperation as it’s clear they’re both working towards a shared objective and goal.

We ask Jane and John to write out their primary objectives. It becomes clear that both are committed to the company’s success and want to increase revenue and customer count. This common ground creates a sense of collaboration between the two, and they start working together to find ways of attracting more customers.

Strategy 3: Seek Mediation or Facilitation

In some cases, where conflicts are particularly complex or contentious, enlisting the help of a neutral third party can be extremely helpful. Having a professional mediator or facilitator to guide the resolution process without bias can work wonders in resolving the conflict. Having a professional means they have expertise in conflict management techniques and de-escalating tension, although it should only be done if the situation is not an easy fix.

In our example, Jane and John are still not seeing eye-to-eye despite our best efforts to help them find common-ground. John claims that Jane is stopping him from buying a house due to the impact to his sales results, whilst Jane claims John is leaving a lasting impact on her credibility due to the damage to the long-term brand image. Because of the complexity of this case, we hire a professional mediator. They conduct separate sessions with Jane and John to understand their positions, and then create joint sessions between the two to work towards a resolution. Their impartial perspective and professional outsider status helps to de-escalate the situation and focus on practical solutions. After this session, Jane and John both agree to find a way to create an entirely new strategy that can benefit both of them.

Strategy 4: Implement Clear Policies and Procedures

Preventing conflict before it happens is the most effective tactic possible. Establishing policies and procedures that address conflict, and outline steps that should be followed along with supporting resources can help to prevent a conflict before it happens. You should ensure that all employees are aware of these protocols and feel that they are able to call upon them when it’s necessary.

In our example with Jane and John, we create a policy that requires regular meetings between the marketing and sales departments to align their strategies and objectives. Additionally, a procedure for escalating unresolved issues to senior management is put in place to ensure a timely intervention and resolution.

Strategy 5: Focus on Win-Win Solutions

The end to a conflict is never when one person wins and the other loses. This only leads to more conflict later on. Instead, finding a solution that meets the needs and interests of everyone involved will lead to the most effective end to a conflict. You should encourage collaboration and brainstorming in sessions where conflicting parties work together to create solutions that can address everyone’s concerns. By prioritising a win-win outcome, employee morale will not be as negatively impacted overall.

After all of our conflict resolution strategies, Jane and John finally agree to develop a joint strategy where marketing campaigns incorporate feedback from the sales team to better target high-potential leads. In turn, the sales team commits to supporting long-term brand-building efforts. This win-win outcome means that Jane and John both feel valued and are working towards a shared vision.

Conclusion: Embracing Conflict as an Opportunity for Growth

Overall, conflict resolution is an important skill for any business owner, or manager. If you want to create a productive and positive work environment, it’s important to not only help employees work, but to also remove anything stopping it, like conflict. By understanding the root causes, encouraging open communication, and win-win solutions you can effectively help turn conflicts into opportunities for growth and deeper collaboration among employees.

Is it Time to Move to a Gig Economy?

The way work and pay have been conducted has stayed largely unchanged in the past few decades. Although, some argue that a seismic shift is underway. Something that will mean people are not paid for their time put into work, but rather for the outcomes they deliver, also known as the gig economy. In this write-up, we will cover how the gig economy rose, what benefits and challenges it will pose, and argue whether the future may adopt this trend on a wider scale as it continues to gain momentum.

Key Takeaways:

✓  The economy continues to shift to an outcome-based model.

✓  This can result in greater profits, flexibility, and autonomy for both workers and clients

✓  A number of issues should be addressed before widespread adoption, such as worker rights, low skilled workers, and job security.

The Rise of the Gig Economy

The gig economy, or also referred to as the freelance or on-demand economy, paints the picture of a labour market characterised by short-term, flexible engagements rather than the more traditional full-time employment. Gig workers, also known as freelancers or independent contractors complete projects on a contingent basis. These are requested by clients or companies, and a freelancer typically has multiple projects to complete at once. 

The gig economy has seen an explosive rise in recent years, largely fueled by advancements in technology, shifting attitudes towards work, and changing preferences among workers. Platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and Upwork have helped change our perception on the standard working model. Furthermore, companies have discovered that it can be a lot cheaper to pay a premium fee for pieces of work that would otherwise require a complete hiring process and employment of a specialised skill set the company may only need for one project. Additionally, the freelancer who has these skills is charging a premium for the service as they are aware of their sought after skills. This has led to an increase in income for gig workers, whilst reducing overheads for companies.

The Shift Towards Outcome-Based Pay Models

A core component to the gig economy is the concept of outcome-based pay models. This is where compensation is tied directly to the results or deliverables achieved, as opposed to the hours worked. For example, a company may pay a fixed $2,000 for a website, regardless of how long it took to build. Pay can sometimes change depending on scope changes and other unforeseen circumstances.

This model of outcome-based pay however, is not a one-size fits all for gig workers. Outcome-based pay models can take many forms including:

The Pros of a Gig Economy

The Cons

So, from afar, the gig economy appears to benefit the worker and the client. Although, this might not be the case all the time, or for everyone in the workforce.

What About the Future?

As more companies see the benefits to paying for contractors, and skilled workers have a demand for their work at a good price, the gig economy will continue to expand and evolve. Outcome-based pay models are more likely to become the norm across various industries and sectors. If the majority shift towards this model of work, there will be the introduction of more laws to protect both workers and clients for a gig economy.

Is it time for the 9-5 to go? Flexible Work Arrangements and Their Effects

In the early 1900s, Henry Ford implemented the 9 to 5 work day in his company. This quickly became the norm, and still is, decades later. Although, as the world of work appears to be moving more remote, and without the need to be physically present in the office, many are questioning whether the 9 to 5 working day has become outdated. 

 Understanding Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements is a general term used to describe a number of different approaches employers take to facilitate a more flexible work life. These include:

Advantages of Flexible Work Arrangements

 

Challenges and Considerations

So, flexible work arrangements appear to benefit everyone right? Employees have more freedom, and employers have more productive workers. However, this may not be the case all the time.

 

Case Studies: Success Stories of Flexible Work Arrangements

Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of a flexible work arrangement, let’s take a look at what happens when they’re put into action:

 

Conclusion: Embracing Flexible Work for a Brighter Future

Overall, it’s clear that a flexible work arrangement has the potential to benefit both the employee and employer. This is a result of an improvement to areas such as work-life balance, personal commitments, personal work-styles and increased productivity. Although, the implementation of this system requires effective planning and communication from managers. Furthermore, this model may not suit every business, as shown by Disney, so it’s important to take the time to determine whether implementing flexible work arrangements will benefit everyone overall.

Is a Four-day Work Week a Realistic Option?

A hot-topic in the world of work has been the four-day workweek with surveys reportedly showing 94% of workers wanting a 4 day workweek. It has been seen as a potential solution to improve work-life balance and increase productivity. Traditionally, a five day work week consisting of 8 hours each day was the norm. Although this was made in a time where the majority of people worked in factories during the industrial revolution, where they had to be in attendance a majority of the week for proper functioning. With the rise of technology, automation, and even AI, introducing a four-day work week can help employees have a better work-life balance and with the advancements of technology they can get the same amount of work done. 

With studies such as one in the UK spanning 330,000 employees and 60 companies over 6 months trialling the four day workweek, an astounding 95% of the firms stated productivity either stayed the same or improved. 90% of the workers want to continue, and 55% reported it increased their ability to work. Although, in reality would this system work? Would there be drawbacks to other areas to allow for less working hours? Or is it actually possible that a four-day work week can be implemented and benefit employees and the companies alike with increased productivity? In this blog, we will cover how the four-day workweek became a talking point, its potential benefits and drawbacks, which industries can benefit from it, and some examples showing evidence that it can be successful.

The Rise of the Four-Day Workweek

The concept of a four-day workweek is not new. In 1956, then US Vice President Richard Nixon first coined the idea, promising to improve workers-lives. This was following Henry Ford in 1926 who first made the 5-day workweek (as the norm was 6 days). This was because the productivity of his factories improved so workers could do the same job in much less time. He also argued that for companies to thrive, there had to be enough free time for the population to buy and enjoy products/services from companies. 

With even greater technological advances in recent years, it takes less time for the same tasks to be completed. Therefore, it’s no wonder people are suggesting a four-day workweek where employees have an extra day to rest, recharge and pursue personal interests. Although, business owners argue that although machines can complete tasks quicker, this simply means you can create more products in the same time as before resulting in increased profits. There is also the possibility of certain employees working 5 days to get ahead, as everyone else is working 4. This can create a snowball effect where everyone follows suit as to not fall behind and before you know it, we are back to a 5 day workweek.

Therefore, it’s important to weigh the positives and negatives of a four-day workweek, some of them are as follows:

Potential Benefits of a Four-Day Workweek

1. Improved Work-Life Balance: A huge benefit for a four-day workweek is the increased time for workers to relax, spend time with family and pursue personal hobbies.

2. Increased Productivity: Whilst this may seem counter intuitive, those who champion the four-day workweek argue that a compressed workweek will further motivate employees to complete their tasks within a shorter time frame, as even with an extra day workers will just spend longer on the same task. This is also known as Parkinson’s law (1942), which states that work will expand to fill the time available to it. 

3. Reduced Burnout and Stress: Working long hours can lead to burnout and stress among employees after time. A four-day workweek can help to reduce the amount of burnout in employees with increased time for relaxation and self-care. This also has a positive effect on their work, as having lower stress, and improved well-being can positively impact motivation resulting in improved work quality.

4. Enhanced Recruitment and Retention: Being a company that offers a four-day workweek can be an attractive perk for job seekers and a valuable retention tool too. Companies that are shown to prioritise the well-being and work-life balance of their employees are seen as more trusting and position themselves to attract top talent.

5. Environmental Impact: Reducing the work-week to four days can also have positive effects on power consumption. Less people will be commuting and offices won’t need to consume power to stay on. This is based on current trends showing increased power during the week. It should also be noted that an extra day off might also be spent travelling or consuming power at home so may not result in a positive environmental impact overall.

Challenges of Implementing a Four-Day Workweek

1. Operational Consideration: Some areas of business simply can’t condense into four days. Some industries require round-the-clock operations like the emergency services or customer-facing roles like retail. Reducing the working days would massively impact profits if they had to shut down one day a week from normal operations.

2. Scheduling Constraints: Implementing a four-day workweek wouldn’t be a simple process. There may be regular meetings or important calls on certain days that will need to be shifted and fit into the four-day week. This can create extra time and work for all staff and may not ensure a smooth workflow that can accommodate the change.

3. Client and Customer Expectations: Being a company that adopts a four-day workweek, especially early on, will be required to manage the expectations regarding availability and response times for their clients and customers. Having a company that only works four days a week can also give off impressions of laziness to clients or customers.

4. Employee Preference: Whilst some employees are all for the four-day workweek, some may prefer the traditional schedule or have commitments outside of work that make a compressed workweek challenging.

Industries That Could Benefit from a Four-Day Workweek

As we’ve mentioned in the drawbacks section, not every industry is suited to a four-day workweek. Although there are certain sectors where it could be particularly beneficial such as:

1. Knowledge-Based Industries: Industries that heavily rely on creativity, innovation, and problem-solving such as technology, marketing, and design, may see significant benefits from a four-day workweek. Employees in these industries often require uninterrupted time to focus on complex tasks and projects. Furthermore, some individuals argue that overworking in these industries can have a negative impact on performance as it can negatively impact creativity and problem solving abilities.

2. Professional Services: Professional services firms, such as law firms, accounting firms, and consulting firms could also benefit from a four-day workweek. This is because they have high-pressure work environments and long hours. By creating a compressed workweek, this can massively help improve their work-life balance and help combat burnout.

3. Tech Start-ups: In the fast-paced world of technology start-ups, employees often face long hours and juggling multiple responsibilities. A four-day workweek can help to prevent burnout and retain top talent in this industry, whilst also making the company an attractive destination for job seekers.

Case Studies: Successful Examples of Four-Day Workweeks

Let’s take a look at some companies that have successfully implemented four-day workweeks:

1. Perpetual Guardian: In 2018, a New Zealand-based trust management company called Perpetual Guardian conducted a trial of a four-day workweek and found that it led to a 20% increase in productivity and a 45% improvement in work-life balance among employees.

2. Microsoft Japan: In 2019, Microsoft Japan decided to experiment with a four-day workweek on its 2,300 employees for five weeks. They found an increase of 40% in productivity compared to the same period of the previous year. They also reported a reduction in electricity consumption and paper usage.

3. Allcap: In June 2022, Allcap, a UK engineering and industrial supplies company trialled the four-day workweek. This was initially planned to run for six months, however they had to stop the trial after two. The owner stated that they simply couldn’t afford to have everyone off one day a week. He reported that “customers call up all the time for manufacturing and construction components”, meaning they had to have employees on site during the standard working week. This example demonstrates that not every industry or profession is suited to a four day work-week if the company hopes to maintain constant outcomes.

Conclusion: Is a Four-Day Workweek Feasible for Any Industry?

While the idea of a four-day workweek may seem appealing to workers, the implementation and logistics would vary among companies and industries. For industries in the office that are non-customer facing or require around the clock support, it will ultimately become a weigh-up between whether the negative impacts on client expectations, scheduling, and operations can be combated by the increase in productivity and well-being of the employees. For industries in manual labour, this change may be harder to implement if the company wants to see constant results.

Ultimately, the change would take lots of careful planning, and a willingness to adapt to the change on an international level for it to become the norm. Further research and studies should be carried out in the meantime to measure whether a four-day workweek can actually be beneficial for employees and companies.

Employee Engagement 101: Cultivating a Motivated Workforce for SMEs

In the world of SMEs and start-ups, having a motivated and engaged workforce is one of the most crucial factors for success. In smaller, and medium sized companies you don’t have strength in numbers, so it’s important that everyone involved in your team is someone you can rely on. In order to cultivate a work environment where employees are engaged and motivated, they also need a reliable leader and a workplace where they feel valued, connected to their work and align with the company’s goals. In this blog, we explore more about the fundamentals of employee engagement as we present strategies that SMEs can implement to cultivate a motivated workforce.

Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment employees have to their organisation and its goals. It’s essentially how enthusiastic someone is about their work, influenced by their belief in the company’s value and the work they’re doing, as well as their motivation to give their all to their work. Employees who are engaged are much more likely to go above and beyond in their role, deliver quality work, and also stay loyal to the organisation.

The Benefits of Employee Engagement for SMEs

 By cultivating an engaged workforce you are helping your company’s product/service quality, workplace well-being, and staff churn rate. This is because engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and customer-focused, leading to improved business performance and profitability. They are also more likely to stay in the company, helping turnover costs and streamlined operations. Additionally, you have the peace of mind of knowing that employees in your organisation are happy and enjoy their role/work.

Strategies for Cultivating Employee Engagement in SMEs

1. Communication & Transparency:

No one likes it when they’re kept in the dark, especially in smaller teams. Keeping employees informed about company goals, decisions, and changes helps them feel that they’re a valued part of the company and will also feel comfortable with sharing ideas, concerns, and feedback. Not being open about company changes conveys the sense of secrecy, resulting in a divide between management positions and employees.

2. Recognition and Appreciation:

Celebrating employee achievements helps them feel acknowledged for their hard work and dedication to the company. Whilst this may just be a small gesture, it can go a long way in motivating and engaging employees.

3. Opportunities for Growth and Development:

A great workforce doesn’t just appear, it has to be made. Presenting opportunities for growth and development to your employees where they can learn new skills, and develop their career is a great way of upskilling your team and improving engagement. You can do this by offering training programs in their specific field, it’s often best to ask what they’d like to learn as opposed to choosing a course for them. You can also provide mentorship opportunities, and career paths within the organisation as additional avenues for growth and development. Providing these opportunities to your team not only improves their skills, but shows that you care for their professional development, fostering a sense of loyalty and commitment.

4. Autonomy and Empowerment:

It’s easy to say that you trust your workforce, but it’s best to show it. By delegating responsibility and decision-making authority to employees wherever possible shows trust in them. This can empower employees to take ownership of their work and in-turn it will become more meaningful resulting in higher quality work. This is especially the case with micro-managing employees as this makes employees feel untrusted and incapable of doing their job. By providing autonomy you can empower employees to feel trusted and motivated in the workplace.

5. Social Connection and Team Building:

Whilst some people thrive working in a solo environment, a lot of employees can feel disconnected and like their work has no impact. By creating a sense of community and camaraderie among employees through team-building activities, social events, and even regular coffee breaks and catch-ups you encourage teamwork, collaboration and may even help create some friendships. These are all great for creating a positive work-environment and helping keep employees feeling engaged as they can see where they fit in the team.

6. Purpose & Meaning:

Psychological studies consistently show that setting high and specific goals is linked to increased task performance, persistence, and motivation, compared to vague or easy goals (study). Therefore, making sure your employees understand the purpose and impact of their work within the broader context of the organisation’s long term goals and values is great for improving engagement. Connecting the company’s long-term goals with those of the individual contributions of the employee, will also emphasise their impact. This is especially important to remember when assigning small tasks or pieces of work that may seem disconnected at first glance.

Conclusion: Investing in Employee Engagement for SME Success

Overall, employee engagement is a key part of business success for all companies, especially for those with less employees as each one makes up a greater part of the organisation. By cultivating an engaged workforce through trust, communication, opportunities, work-environment and purpose, SMEs can unlock higher levels of productivity, innovation, and employee retention, driving business growth and success in the long run. If you’re an SME looking to boost employee engagement but don’t know where to start, our Paradigm HR services are perfect for helping you navigate the HR world! Feel free to contact us through our website.

Green Careers are Blooming in NZ: Exploring Careers in Renewable Energy & Environmental Conservation

It’s April, which means Earth day is right around the corner. In light of this, we wanted to share how the job market has reflected the world's growing effort to go green and attempting to reduce carbon emissions across a number of industries. This change has resulted in not only new opportunities for combating climate change but has also spawned a new wave of careers in renewable energy and environmental conservation with New Zealand being at the forefront of this shift. In this blog we will discuss the various new career opportunities that have arisen as a result of the green revolution.

The Rise of Renewable Energy

The rise of renewable energy sources like solar wind and hydroelectric power are a result of the fight against climate change. As we transition from fossil fuels, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals in the renewable energy sector. Careers in renewable energy span a wide range of disciplines, including engineering, project management, research and development, and policy advocacy. New Zealand is positioned as a world leader in using renewable energy, with around 40% of its primary energy coming from renewable sources. This means the changes in the green careers job market is amplified in New Zealand when compared to a lot of countries. There are also lots of upskilling opportunities in sustainability from various courses and programs in New Zealand making it an ideal place to pursue a green career.

Exploring Career Paths in Renewable Energy

Solar Energy:

Solar has seen a huge rise in not only commercial, but also residential properties recently with data suggesting the solar PV market to increase at an annual compound growth rate of over 20% between 2021 and 2026. With such a high demand for solar, there is also a high demand for people to help install and manage the projects. This has resulted in an increase in job opportunities in a number of disciplines.

Careers include:

Specific expertise for extra opportunities: 

Wind Energy:

Like solar, wind energy production has seen huge growth over recent years with large scale wind turbine projects occurring in various places in the world, and even in the ocean. 

Careers include:

Specific expertise for extra opportunities:  

Hydroelectric Power:

Hydroelectric power refers to using moving water to generate electricity, such as a dam. Hydroelectricity, whilst being one of the oldest forms of renewable energy, is the largest renewable energy source in the world, producing more than 54% of the global renewable power generation capacity. Additionally, this sector is also growing like the previous two, meaning career opportunities are constantly emerging.

Careers include:

Specific expertise for extra opportunities:  

Careers in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Conservation

Energy efficiency and conservation efforts play a huge role in the green revolution. Whilst they may sound similar, they have distinct meanings. Energy efficiency refers to the use of technology that will produce functions using less energy, whilst conservation refers to behavioural or habitual changes that will result in less power consumption. 

Energy Efficiency:

Careers in energy efficiency are rapidly growing as a result of the increased adoption of renewable energy overall.

Careers include:

Specific expertise for extra opportunities:

These skills will help businesses and organisations reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions through energy efficiency measures.

Careers in Environmental Conservation:

Careers in environmental conservation cover multiple areas. From protecting endangered species to restoring ecosystems and combating pollution, there are lots of diverse and rewarding opportunities for those interested in preserving the planet.

Wildlife Conservation:

For lovers of the great outdoors, wildlife conservation is a great opportunity to help protect endangered species, conserve biodiversity, and manage wildlife habitats. 

Careers include:

Many of the opportunities in wildlife conservation require a strong background in:

This makes this sector a higher barrier to entry compared to many of those on our list.

Forestry and Natural Resource Management:

Forestry and natural resource management professionals play a critical role in managing and conserving forests, watersheds, and other natural resources.

Careers include:

Specific expertise for extra opportunities:

Forestry and natural resource management has a lower barrier to entry than some other fields in conservations, although if you’re an expert there’s certainly lots of high level decision making careers such as conservation planners.

Environmental Advocacy Policy:

Organisations and government agencies ultimately have the power to influence policies and regulations, meaning they have a key role in shaping our attitude towards the environment.

Careers include:

Many opportunities in this field require prior education or experience as many of the roles involve decision making on highly influential policies or regulations. Although, if you’re an individual with a strong passion for environmental justice, policy advocacy and community engagement you can impact conservation and sustainability at local, national and even international levels.

Pursuing a Career in the Green Revolution

The rise of sustainable awareness provides a number of opportunities for those seeking meaningful and rewarding careers in renewable energy and environmental conservation. The abundance of diverse career paths, catering to individuals with varying levels of experience across specific sectors, offers ample opportunities to make a positive impact on the planet.

For individuals looking to upskill and enter the field, there are numerous opportunities available in New Zealand. Many Universities like the University of Auckland provide courses in environmental science and the Southern Institute of Technology offers sustainability courses such as Environmental Management. Those who do not want to study in University can look into the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for accredited courses in sustainability.

If you’re interested in exploring opportunities available in a number of industries and sectors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Paragon Recruitment.

The HR “Black Hole”: How to Avoid Common Mistakes in your Hiring Process

In the vast realm of recruitment and HR, it can sometimes feel like you’re navigating through a black hole where resumes vanish, candidates disappear, and hiring decisions seem to fade into the abyss. That’s why we’re here to help you set your course straight and navigate your hiring processes efficiently, turning them into a streamlined, effective and successful process. We will explore common pitfalls that often plague the hiring process and provide actionable tips for avoiding them in this blog!

Why You’re Stuck in the HR “Black Hole”

The HR “black hole” we’re referring to is the feeling of being stuck in an endless loop of poor applications and resumes as your vacancies appear to never be filled. This happens for a variety of reasons, some of which are:

  1. Lack of Clear Job Descriptions: When you upload vague job descriptions it leads to confusion amongst candidates. This leads to an influx of resumes from unqualified candidates making it even harder to find quality talent. Additionally, a strong candidate may suddenly drop out of the hiring process when they realise the job description does not match what the actual role entails.
  1. Over Reliance on Traditional Hiring Methods: Relying too heavily on conventional hiring approaches like job boards and referrals can severely restrict your talent pool. Consequently, top-tier candidates may struggle to discover your job postings, eluding detection by your recruitment team altogether.
  1. Inefficient Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Outdated or poorly implemented ATS systems make it very difficult to track and manage applications. This leads to delays in hiring decisions, or losing resumes and potential quality candidates.
  1. Bias in the Hiring Process: This has become a prominent issue in the business world, and for good reason. For instance, a staggering 61% of recruiters in the tech sector admit to being hired due to unconscious bias. These biases, typically unintentional, can manifest at any stage of the hiring process, from reviewing resumes to conducting interviews. Unfortunately, they lead to discriminatory practices and drive away valuable candidates, ultimately undermining diversity efforts.

 Escaping the HR Black Hole

  1. Craft Compelling Job Descriptions: Writing job descriptions may appear tedious, however, taking the time to craft clear, concise, and compelling job descriptions that specify the role and its requirements properly will save lots of time in the long run. By clearly outlining responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations in the role, you will attract qualified candidates that are also interested in the position. This will cut down the number of unqualified candidates and those dropping out, thus saving you lots of time and headaches.
  1. Embrace a Multi-Channel Recruitment Approach: By expanding your recruitment strategy and channels you can cast a much wider net for potential candidates. This can be done through social media, professional networks, and industry-specific platforms to reach a wider audience of job seekers making it not only easier for you to find candidates but also for them to find jobs they’re interested in.
  1. Invest in Modern ATS Solutions: Investing in a modern ATS that is properly implemented has several benefits. You should make sure they’re user-friendly, customisable, and have advanced features such as resume parsing, candidate scoring, and automated workflows. These functionalities not only streamline the recruitment journey but also serve to safeguard against losing resumes and high-calibre candidates due to a subpar ATS.
  1. Implement Blind Screening Techniques: As mentioned above, unconscious bias is a prevalent issue in the hiring process. Whilst it's important to be aware of, completely removing it is difficult. This is why implementing blind screening techniques such as removing names, gender, age etc. from resumes in the initial screening phase can help to ensure fair and objective evaluation of candidates based on their qualifications and experience.
  1. Prioritise Candidate Experience: Having a candidate disappear just as they were scheduled for an interview can be frustrating. This can be a result of poor candidate experience. To prevent this from happening it’s important to provide a positive candidate experience all the way from the initial application to the final offer. This can be done through clear and prompt communication, providing feedback and updates on their application, as well as offering support and assistance when required.

 Conclusion:

The black hole of HR may appear to be never-ending, but with the correct strategies and tools you can easily break free from its pull and turn your hiring process into an efficient and effective process. By presenting applicants with compelling job descriptions across multiple channels whilst providing a positive candidate experience, alongside modern ATS solutions and blind screening techniques your hiring process will see great results! Alongside this it’s important to use the correct platforms to attract the right people, a targeted approach to hiring is much more effective than always following the current trends.

If you’re interested in more HR advice or would prefer to have the load taken off completely, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ParadigmHR to learn how we can partner with your company and implement robust HR structures and processes! 

How to Attract Top Talent Using Employer Branding

Securing the best talent is vital for the success of any business. While aspects such as salary, benefits, and the specifics of the job role are key factors in attracting applicants, one often underestimated element is employer branding. Employer branding is essentially how a company is perceived and regarded by potential employees, encompassing its values, culture, and the overall experience it offers to its employees. Consider the examples of Google or Deloitte; these organisations invest significantly in their employer branding, contributing to their status as highly desirable places to work. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of maintaining a strong employer brand and offer strategies for developing one.

Why Employer Branding Matters

1. Attracts quality candidates

Having a strong employer brand attracts a much higher calibre of talent, who are not only qualified for the job but also align with the company’s values and culture, as these are much more apparent in a strong employer brand. Consider software developers - a significant number aspire to join companies they resonate with, such as Apple or Microsoft. This desire extends beyond just the allure of a good salary or the prestige of working for a large corporation; it's also deeply rooted in their daily use of the company's products and a strong alignment with its values.

2. Improves Employee Retention

Companies with a strong employer brand and positive work culture are more likely to keep employees. This is because the employees will not only enjoy a positive work culture - but a strong employer brand attracting candidates with aligned values (as described in the point above) will result in a longer lasting employee. 

3. Enhances Competitive Advantage

The job market is a competitive space, having a strong employer brand really sets your company apart from competitors. It will give you an edge in attracting top talent, especially in industries where skilled workers are in high demand. Once you start attracting top talent your company will be more likely to succeed, further exacerbating the gap between your competitors.

4. Boosts Employee Engagement

A proud employee is more engaged and motivated to actively contribute to the success of their company. This can be a result of a strong employer brand creating a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees. Employees who are proud of their company often become brand ambassadors unknowingly. This could involve talking to their friends about the company or even referring people they know to work at your company.

5. Builds a Positive Reputation

A favourable employer brand not only draws in high-quality talent but also bolsters the overall reputation of the company. Candidates and customers alike are more likely to view a company with a strong employer brand favourable, leading to increased trust and credibility. Additionally - employing top-tier talent frequently results in an enhanced customer experience, thereby fortifying your company's brand and attracting even more high-calibre candidates in a self-reinforcing cycle.

Strategies for Building a Strong Employer Brand

1. Define Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Start by defining what sets your company apart as an employer. List your unique selling points, like opportunities for career growth, work-life balance, or company culture and incorporate these into your employer branding efforts and strategies.

2. Align Branding with Company Values

Make sure your employer branding content and messaging align with your company’s mission and values. The employer brand you convey should reflect your organisation’s culture, and values, giving an authentic representation of what it’s like to work there. Being authentic will also attract candidates who actually align with your company as opposed to attracting talent who aren’t actually invested in your company mission.

3. Create Compelling Content

Showcase your company culture using storytelling, employee testimonials, and success stories. Having tangible evidence of a positive workplace gives a sense of trust to job seekers and helps build your employer brand. You should also leverage channels such as websites, social media, and recruitment materials to share this content.

4. Invest in Employee Experience

Investing in a positive work environment, offering competitive benefits, and providing opportunities for growth and development is great for your employer brand. Giving employees a positive experience helps build trust and company ambassadors (as mentioned previously).

5. Engage with Candidates and Employees

Engage with your candidates and current employees often. Respond promptly to inquiries, provide regular updates throughout the recruitment process, and solicit feedback to continuously improve the candidate and employee experience. Engaging with candidates and employees also helps nurture personal relationships with them - an essential aspect to employee experience.

6. Measure and Monitor Employer Brand Reputation

Use surveys, feedback, and employee satisfaction metrics to measure the effectiveness of your employer branding efforts. It’s also important to monitor online reviews, social media mentions, and employee feedback on various sites to see what employees liked and disliked so you can find areas for improvement and address these issues.

Conclusion

As discussed, employer branding is a pivotal element in any recruitment strategy. In a fiercely competitive job market, standing out is key, and having a strong employer brand is great for this as it can display work culture and company values, thereby attracting top talent that align with your business.

6 Ways HR Can Help Prevent a Cybersecurity Breach

The more the world goes digital, the more there is to exploit online. This is why cybersecurity breaches have become a growing concern for many companies. Research shows that 88% of all cybersecurity breaches are due to human error according to data from Stanford University and a leading cybersecurity company. Therefore, whilst implementing technical safeguards is incredibly important for protecting digital assets, mitigating the human risk aspect is also crucial. This is why the role of HR in minimising cybersecurity risks can be huge for companies looking to protect their online assets. In this blog, we'll explore the ways HR departments can help cybersecurity efforts and help prevent data breaches within their organisations.

Understanding the Human Element of Cybersecurity

Before discussing the ways HR can help cybersecurity, it’s important to understand how the human element threatens cybersecurity. Whilst digital firewalls and methods of preventing cybersecurity breaches have majorly progressed in recent years, people’s attitude towards online security hasn’t seen as much of an increase. It’s still common to see people falling victim to phishing scams, using weak passwords or the same one for multiple accounts, and mishandling sensitive information. Employees often inadvertently compromise their organisation’s cybersecurity.

This is why HR leaders are uniquely positioned to address these issues and help form ways in which employees are aware of the risks posed by improper online safety and the ways in which this can be tackled.

1. Recruitment and Onboarding Practices

The first line of defence against cybersecurity threats begins with the recruitment and onboarding process. HR impacts this massively, as they can incorporate cybersecurity responsibilities as part of their onboarding. This could be done via a course from the HR leader, via an online tutorial using pre recorded footage, or even a simple word document highlighting the importance of cybersecurity and the organisation’s common practices to avoid a breach.

2. Cybersecurity Training and Awareness Programs

Whilst onboarding is a great opportunity for cybersecurity training, what about employees already at the company? HR departments can collaborate with IT and cybersecurity teams to develop and implement training initiatives that educate employees about common cybersecurity risks, best practices for safeguarding training initiatives that educate employees about common cybersecurity risks, best practices for safeguarding sensitive information and the importance of adhering to company security policies.

3. Proper Password Practices

So, we’ve explained when and how to train employees on cybersecurity practices – but what are the actual ways you can help prevent it? A great place to start is of course with passwords. Properly managing your organisation’s passwords is essential to making sure they’re not collected by malicious online users. This can be done by:

Using a different password for each account and user

It’s often for an employee to use the same password for multiple accounts – this means a hacker only needs one password to access lots of company accounts.

Include numbers, special symbols, and at least 16 characters in a password

This makes it harder for brute force attacks to determine your password.

Change passwords for crucial accounts regularly

This can be tedious, but changing passwords is great for preventing data breaches as employees who have left a company will still know of these passwords. This should be done especially for critical accounts, such as bank or executive level accounts.

Use password managers

Keeping track of all the different passwords we’ve recommended to employ can be especially difficult. Using password managers is a great way for keeping your passwords stored in a single place securely, and by one or a few people as opposed to spread across an entire team. When sharing passwords make sure to use encrypted software like Mega (which is also great for generating secure keys).

4. Secure Network Perimeters

Securing your company’s network perimeter involves implementing measures to protect the boundary between internal and external networks, therefore controlling access to and from the organisation’s IT infrastructure. This can be done by:

5.Control Access to Data

Limiting who can access certain data in your organisation is another great method for preventing a breach. This can be done by implementing role-based access controls (RBAC) to limit access to sensitive data and systems based on an employees’ job role and responsibilities.

For example, a recent employee in the sales department does not need access to sensitive documents in the finances department. This is often a common occurrence as companies give access to all shared files. Managing who sees what information is a critical step to information safety. Monitoring and logging user activities to detect unauthorised access or suspicious behaviour can be a further step to making sure your company’s sensitive information is not seen by the wrong people.

6. Back-up Data Regularly

Whilst there’s lots you can do to prevent a cybersecurity breach, it’s impossible to be 100% safe. Therefore, it’s good to have a back-up of your company’s data in the event of a cybersecurity breach. Make sure this is regularly backed up and stored in a secure place. You should test your mode of back-up regularly to make sure it’s working and that your data is stored correctly. You can even consider leveraging cloud-based backup solutions for added security.

Conclusion:

The role of HR can’t be understated in helping prevent cybersecurity breaches. By implementing proactive measures such as ongoing training, onboarding and awareness programs highlighting some of the tips shared above your organisation will be well on its way to being a lot safer in the digital world.

As a recruitment company dedicated to helping businesses build high-performing teams, Paradigm understands the critical importance of cybersecurity in safeguarding our clients' success. Contact us today to learn how we can support your organisation's cybersecurity efforts and recruit top talent with the skills and expertise to protect your digital assets effectively.