Entry level roles are perceived as being ‘low skilled’, but a high level of skill is required in these roles to be productive. 

Labour shortage is an ongoing challenge for the industry, and there are not enough people working in the industry to keep up with the level of work that is required. This is compounded by a variety of factors, including the work not being seen as desirable by New Zealanders, and restrictions around immigration which limit the amount of people coming into the country on work and work holiday visas.  

The industry relies heavily on the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme, which permits people from certain Pacific nations to come to Aotearoa to work in horticulture for seven consecutive months within an eleven-month period. This time restriction makes it difficult to upskill RSE workers through relevant qualifications and training. 

The Tāmaki Makaurau Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) has identified in its Regional Workforce Plan that the horticulture and fruit growing industries will need to fill 276 more jobs in the next five years. There is high demand for entry-level roles, and limited career progression due to the flat organisational structure of the industries.