In a country which encompasses approximately nine times more livestock than people, New Zealand recruitment company, Canstaff, are turning to England in search of skilled meat workers.

Meat processing is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry with 90% of New Zealand’s sheepmeat production, and 83% of beef production being exported each year. These exports alone are worth $5 billion and processing plants are struggling to keep up with the demand. 

“Our clients have been attempting to source butchers, boners, meat processors and people with knife skills for some time now,” said Matt Jones, Canstaff Managing Director. “The rapid growth in the meat processing industry has quickly surpassed the supply of potential workers and we needed to think outside the box to find a solution.”

Jones operates a globally recognised recruitment company and identified that recruiting overseas meat workers was the only way to fill the shortage gap, “We have previously tried numerous methods to recruit locals for the vacancies but were unsuccessful. There are low unemployment numbers in these areas which has narrowed the labour pool right down to begin with,” he said.

Meat workers have consistently been in short supply in New Zealand and a mild spring has seen low mortality rates during spring lambing. When coupled with high cattle prices, this has only served to exacerbate the existing pressures on meat processing plants. Recruiting international workers was naturally the next step for Canstaff.

“There is a relocation package on offer to eligible applicants,” said Jones. “We basically take all of the stress out the move and arrange everything from the very beginning for our applicants. All they need to do is apply online and our specialist staff will guide them every step of the way.”