In the 2012 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives”, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said:
“Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century. Without proper investment in skills, people languish on the margins of society, technological progress does not translate into economic growth, and countries can no longer compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global society. But this “currency” depreciates as the requirements of labour markets evolve and individuals lose the skills they do not use. Skills also do not automatically convert into jobs and growth. ”
While this refers to countries, the same equally applies to sectors within a country. In New Zealand the service sector is competing with sectors like health, education, and many others for the best and brightest talent. And simply attracting these people isn’t enough. Sectors have to ensure that these people are equipped with the right skills, maintain those skills, remain in the sector, and that their skills are used in the most effective way possible. At the same time, changes in the sector are leading to new career opportunities with accompanying greater skill needs. There is also a need for strong leadership and management to ensure skill development is keeping pace with skill needs.
It is well recognised that the education sector has a crucial role in ensuring people start with a core base of foundation skills and in ensuring relevant tertiary education is available. However, sectors need to have active input into content to make sure that education is relevant to individual businesses and to the service sector more broadly. Sound skill development requires a lead role from businesses, industry associations, and others with a key interest in the development of the service sector.
The service sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy, contributing 18% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing 563,000 people or 26% of all workers in New Zealand. The service sector grew faster than the New Zealand economy as a whole over the past 10 years and has the opportunity to continue to grow strongly over the next 5-10 years. To fully capitalise on possible growth, the sector needs to work together to ensure that workers have the right mix of skills and that these skills are put to good use.
This type of collaboration is unlikely to occur in a way that will drive economic growth without some sort of coordinated approach. The ServiceIQ Workforce Development Plan outlines a framework for various parts of the sector to work together toward a shared vision of ‘a world-class service industry through qualified people’. The plan highlights actions and strategies that key players can take to make the biggest difference in moving the sector towards this shared vision.
For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email intel@ServiceIQ.org.nz