The service situation: $48 billion industry at risk

  • Opinion
  • May 4, 2017
  • Dean Minchington
The service situation: $48 billion industry at risk

An industry that employs almost one in three New Zealanders is at risk. ServiceIQ chief executive Dean Minchington says more training and support is needed for in industry to grow. 

A new report on the service industry notes that ‘without these people our health and safety, and sense of national wellbeing, would be profoundly compromised.’ It also notes that another 200,000 workers will be needed in the service sectors between now and 2020.

Despite this size, and the contribution of $47.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP, the service sector and its workforce is rarely seen as a critical cog in the nation’s economic effort. Regrettably this perception is perpetuated by analysis (and media stories), which portray the sector as plain-vanilla with unskilled workers, and so offering few career prospects, says the report.

This introduces the risk of skills shortages, reduced productivity, and impacts on both businesses and the customers they serve says.

International tourists spend $10 billion here, but domestic tourists spend even more – $14 billion, and both are growing. But whether you’re from overseas or a local, you expect and deserve great service at retailers, hotels, attractions and restaurants, bars and cafés. The service sector adds value to everyone, whether on holiday or not, by providing great customer service and memorable experiences.

The strong performance and projected growth is good news for the economy and especially for the regional New Zealand, with MBIE identifying the need to disperse visitors across all regions.

But there’s a big concern about ensuring the service sector has the right mix of trained and skilled people. As the report says: ‘To build and maintain our reputation as a great place to visit, New Zealand also needs to offer great customer service as well as great experiences. This is where training and ensuring an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge and qualifications is important.’

One common misperception is blown out of the water by the report. Many people think that up-skilling and training programmes leading to qualifications are for young people straight from school.

In fact, in our service sectors people under 19 make up just 16% of those completing on-job training programmes. Just under half are aged between 20 and 29, and more than a third of people are 30 or older. This proves that the service sectors offer life-long opportunities to earn and learn, gain new skills, and develop a rewarding career.

The challenge now is to increase the numbers of current employees that are in upskilling programmes, and have in place a better process for new service sector employees to engage in on-job training. This will benefit them as they gain skills and develop careers, benefit their employers who will have access to a more capable workforce, and benefit every New Zealander and visitor to our country as they interact daily with service sector organisations.

ServiceIQ, as part of the At Your Service Aotearoa initiative, is looking forward to discussing with government agencies and industry representatives the insights this report has uncovered. We believe that the labour and skills shortage issues can be addressed by working with the community, industry and local and government agencies.

At Your Service Aotearoa is a collaboration between four industry training organisations that provide workplace training across the service sector. These ITOs are ServiceIQ, Skills Active, Careerforce, and HITO.

The BERL report, At Your Service Aotearoa: A well qualified workforce in your community is available at

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


First Aid Pod aims to give privacy to those in need

  • News
  • June 20, 2018
  • Elly Strang
First Aid Pod aims to give privacy to those in need

If you’ve ever been involved in an emergency in a public space, you’ll know that privacy is often desired for both the person under duress and the first aid responder trying to help. Three Dunedin retail workers had seen it happen all too often, so they’ve created the First Aid Pod – a pop-up tent that provides shelter and all the medical gear necessary to deal with such a situation.

Read more
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Thankyou wants customers to fly its logo from a crane

  • News
  • June 18, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
Thankyou wants customers to fly its logo from a crane

Australian social enterprise company Thankyou is newly launched in New Zealand with a strong narrative of charitable giving and a range of affordably-priced personal care products. But first, it wants customers to literally go above and beyond to promote it.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit