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One in four Kiwis looking to upskill to boost employability

One in four New Zealanders are planning to upskill over the next six to 12 months, according to new research from Finder. 

According to the financial research and comparison site, New Zealanders are looking to broaden their skill set in a bid to boost their employability.

The recent Finder survey of 2,001 respondents aged 18 and above revealed that 1 in 4 New Zealanders (25%) are planning to upskill over the next 6-12 months. When extrapolated to the adult population, that is almost one million people who are looking to boost their knowledge and skills by the end of 2021.

A desire to change careers (14%) and the fear of rising unemployment (7%) are the key drivers behind Kiwis desire to broaden their skill set. The remaining 4% are planning to upskill because they have lost their job.

This comes as the latest Stats NZ figures reveal that the unemployment rate is currently at 4% in New Zealand, with the next update to arrive on 4 November 2020. 

Kevin McHugh, Finders publisher in New Zealand, said the nation may be in the middle of a coronavirus skills boom.

"Thousands of Kiwis are planning to take up new skills as they look to land new roles or carve out a new career path," McHugh says.

"Adding to your skill set is a smart way to boost your employability, especially during a recession, as it sets you apart from other job applicants," he explains.

"It is also a good way to keep busy in the short term while setting yourself up for professional success or greater earnings potential in the future," McHugh adds. 

The research found that millennials are leading the charge, with 41% planning to upskill compared to just 18% of generation X.

Almost 1 in 10 (8%) of the nations youngest employees (gen Z) are upskilling because they have lost their job, according to the data.

McHugh said that young people have been hit the hardest during the pandemic in terms of employment. 

"Young people working in the service sector have been dealt a severe blow during the pandemic," he says.

"It is good to see they are picking themselves back up and looking to the future through education."

McHugh says the flow-on effect is a workforce with a more diverse skill set, which is good for the economy in uncertain times.

"This trend may play a key role in economic growth following the recession," he added.