Accounting and Finance: One way talent traffic

In last year’s Hunter Campbell Market Insights publication, we questioned whether the opening of our borders would result in ‘The Great Migration’ – an influx of talent returning to New Zealand shores.

We suggested that in order for New Zealand to be a successful ‘net importer of talent’, we’d need to get certain things right; ease of visa application, length of visas offered, cost of living, access to rentals, and other lifestyle ‘pull factors’ that could make New Zealand an attractive location.

A year on and it’s fair to say our report card in these areas has not been flattering. And when you add to that the large numbers of Kiwi-based Accountants who have left for greener pastures in the past 12-months, it definitely feels like one-way traffic.

In ‘normal times,’ we would expect to see a huge influx of returning Kiwis arriving November to January, with the majority entering the job market in February and March. This just hasn’t happened this year – despite the official stats showing a net migration gain of 15,800 in 2022.

The people that are returning are at a different level of seniority, and with a very different skill-set to those who arrived pre-covid. Pre-covid we saw Senior Accountants and Financial Analysts, now we are seeing Heads of Financial Planning & Accounting, Commercial Managers, Financial Controllers and Senior Finance Business Partners. With less roles at this level among Kiwi businesses and less cyclical movement there is a lower volume of opportunities in this space.

On the other hand, if you’re an Accountant in the five-year post-qual space, there are plenty of opportunities, and with the lack of talent, it’s a great time to be a job seeker.

Interestingly we’re seeing that many people in the United Kingdom on their OE are staying for longer. There are two reasons for this – firstly, as a result of lockdowns and general pandemic-related disruption, people haven’t had the experience they intended on. And secondly, recent changes to UK visas have meant Kiwis are allowed to stay longer, and go later in life.

The experience and exposure that Kiwi Accountants gain working internationally is invaluable. When they finally return, they bring unique skills and global insights to Kiwi businesses. In the United Kingdom, Hunter Campbell continues to enjoy a solid reputation as the preferred New Zealand recruitment agency of choice which is evidenced in our unrivalled talent pool. In June, we’ll again be heading over to the UK to run a series of events and connect with the best and the brightest Kiwi talent looking to return to our shores

For more insights from our Accounting and Finance recruitment specialists download our 2023 Market Insights:


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