Fran O’Sullivan writes on the problem of relatively high youth unemployment when employers can’t fill vacancies with locals:
. . . as with the dairy industry – farmers would rather import low-paid but highly skilled workers from the Philippines who will work long hours, rather than set up an optimum working environment for young Kiwis. . . .
Any dairy farmer could write a book about staff.
There are the wonderful ones who are keen, willing to learn, and use their heads and their hands.
There are others who aren’t as good but aren’t bad and there are always some who are hopeless.
There are good and bad employers too – but the latter don’t keep staff long and don’t deserve to.
Good employers also have trouble getting locals to work which isn’t a reflection on the working environment.
Dairying isn’t easy. It requires getting up early, getting dirty and working in all weather and there’s not a lot employers can do to make that more attractive.
But it pays well and workers with the will to advance can go up the employment ladder to management or sharemilking. That in turn can lead to farm ownership or provide a nest egg for investment in other business opportunities.
There are a lot of foreign workers on dairy farms but they’re not low paid and it’s not because employers prefer foreigners per se. It’s because they are often better workers.
Dairying isn’t the only industry where this happens.
It’s not the working environment that’s the problem. It’s the attitude of some of those who are out of work and aren’t prepared to take the long term view that doing well in any job is far more likely to lead to a better one than doing nothing.