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1 in 4 Kiwis are planning to upskill over the next year

        • 25% plan to expand their skill set to boost employability
        • 1 in 10 in gen Z plan to upskill after losing work
        • Financial tips for navigating a recession

23 October 2020, Sydney, AustraliaKiwis are broadening their skill set to boost their employability according to Finder, a financial research and comparison site in New Zealand.

A 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’s almost 1 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, Finder’s 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.

“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.

“It’s 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 said.

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 nation’s youngest employees (gen Z) are upskilling because they’ve lost their job.

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. It’s good to see they’re picking themselves back up and looking to the future through education.

“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,” McHugh said.


  • This study was designed by Finder and conducted by Qualtrics, a SAP company.
  • The online survey was conducted using a nationally representative survey sample of 2,001 New Zealand residents.
Do you plan to upskill (e.g. learn a new trade or a new career) over the next 6–12 months?
I’m not sure20%
Yes, because I’m looking to change careers14%
Yes, because of rising unemployment7%
Yes, because I lost my job4%

Source: Finder NZ survey of 2,001 respondents

Financial tips for navigating a recession:

  • Prioritise paying down debt. Pay off your credit card or personal loan debt first. These products tend to have the highest interest rates and may be difficult to pay off if you lose income.
  • Build your emergency fund. Even if you are in a secure position, saving should be front of mind during a recession. Set a portion of your income aside each pay and don’t touch it. A high interest savings account or a term deposit is a safe place, even though rates remain low.
  • Sort out your mortgage. Home loan interest rates are at record lows. Your mortgage is likely your biggest debt, so you want to pay it off as quickly as possible. The lower your interest rate, the less you’ll need to pay. Refinancing to a lender with a better deal can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
  • Diversify your income if possible. There are a number of ways you can do this. Negotiate your salary, pick up a side hustle or do part-time work where possible. You can also try to sell items online you no longer use, like clothing, whitegoods or furniture.


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