A Growing Divide: Pacific Small Businesses Struggle for Workers

Must Read

As the economy slowly recovers and businesses around the Pacific Northwest look to expand, small businesses in the region face a unique challenge: an increasingly tight labour market.

What draws many travellers to the exclusive resort on Taumeasina Island near Apia, Samoa? Is it the glimmering golden sands or tranquil turquoise waters? While these are undeniable attractions, others may be drawn to something else entirely—the radiant and amicable staff.

Resort in Samoa

Australian and New Zealand business professionals often book stays at the resort when visiting Samoa to source new employees for seasonal jobs in their home countries.

Tuiataga Nathan Bucknall, the resort’s general manager, must now “hold his tongue” when valuable customers arrive. Even though they have brought in business and continue to do so, their presence may also signify something more sinister: that they are there to poach workers from under his nose.

In the last twelve months, Bucknall has seen an unprecedented exodus of nearly 60 workers – around one-third of its typical staff numbers – to seasonal employment opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. This remarkable shift demonstrates a surging need for Pacific labour that Samoa is poised to meet.

Samoa Island Resort

Bucknall fast-tracked the hiring of inexperienced personnel to keep services smoothly operating.

“The unfortunate reality is that, after we invest in training them up, they will likely get recruited into a seasonal worker program, and we’ll have to find new employees,” he says. “The last twelve months have seen our place transform into a flourishing hub for seasonal labourers.”

To keep their employees, Bucknall is increasing salaries. Unfortunately, they cannot match the wages offered in Australia and New Zealand.

The regular outgoing of seasonal workers is a typical and mainly favourable event for Samoa. It depends on the influx of remittances from its expatriates, equivalent to about 29% of GDP as per World Bank data.

This growing divide between small businesses in the Pacific Northwest and Samoa reflects a broader trend of companies seeking to take advantage of international labour migrations. As seasonal workers opt for higher wages abroad, small regional businesses scramble to fill vacancies. To stay competitive and retain employees, these businesses must adapt quickly by offering higher wages and innovative benefits.

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img
Latest News
- Advertisement -spot_img

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -spot_img