Report Shows Need for 24% Increase in NZ Wine Workers

VineyardVineyard workers in Marlborough, New Zealand will need to increase by 24% until 2020 due to a projected 25% growth in plantings in the next five years, according to a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report.

Since 2000, the wine industry in the region has expanded by 300%, while providing almost $500 million in economic activity each year. This has translated to job opportunities and one in 10 people has worked in the wine sector.

Wine Workforce

Wine Marlborough commissioned the report, which noted that the industry’s current workforce comprises around 5,000 of direct and indirect workers. The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme has hired an additional 3,000 seasonal workers.

An increase in workers would be necessary since the industry plays an important role in Marlborough’s regional economy, according to NZIER Deputy CEO John Ballingall. The wine business accounts for nearly 20% of economic activity, whether it's the production of wine bottle labels or harvesting produce in grape vineyards.

Migrant Workers

The wine industry owes a huge part of its success to migrant workers, according to Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens. Those who work under the RSE scheme also contributed to the industry’s growth, as these labourers from Pacific countries have helped in filling vacancies in horticulture and viticulture industries.

Pickens suggested that there should be more housing and pastoral care for RSE workers, as they have been responsible for an estimated 75% of vineyard work in Marlborough. It remains to be seen, however, if a new government administration would have a negative impact on the region’s wine workforce.

The expected growth in vineyard plantings in Marlborough represents good news for job hunters. The economy would also benefit from a sustained level of business from the industry, which is why companies should begin recruiting more employees.