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New Zealand currently has one of the highest levels of unfilled job vacancies in its history, particularly in fields of technology, science, design and innovation. As companies, we recognise that we need to respond to this quickly changing job market.

Our open letter to the New Zealand public is a statement of position, that across a range of skills based roles we do not require applicants to hold a formal qualification. These roles are ‘NZTalent’ positions.

This is a part of a global trend recognising the growing demand for contemporary skills that are often learnt outside formal education programmes.

We invite all New Zealand businesses wishing to support this initiative to sign up and add their company logo to this letter so we can change the conversation about what it means to be talented in 2017.

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An open letter to the New Zealand public


Dear New Zealand

As employment is increasingly redefined by technology and new skills, the job market needs to respond in new ways to find talent. Skills will replace fixed knowledge and new jobs will replace the old. These new jobs need to be adaptable and offer applicants the ability to learn on the job. The pace of change is rapid.

As businesses, we acknowledge that the skills we are looking for in prospective employees can now be developed through a range of pathways. While traditional tertiary education has its place, it is one of many pathways to employment. Internships, apprenticeships, new micro-credentials, on the job training, online courses and badging are all effective ways to learn. For many, the time and cost of gaining a tertiary qualification without certainty of employment means we all need to think outside the box to connect people to jobs and opportunities.

As such, we confirm that for a range of specific, skilled-based roles in our companies, we do not require tertiary qualifications. These may be roles in technology, sales, marketing, customer service, management, manufacturing and operations to name a few.

In adopting this recruitment policy, we hope to attract a more diverse workforce with wide-ranging experience. We appreciate there are many highly skilled people with practical experience, self-taught skills, passion and the motivation to learn on the job if given the opportunity.

We will now consider applicants for a wide range of roles regardless of whether or not they hold a tertiary qualification. As businesses, our focus will be on assessment of necessary skills, attitudes, motivation and adaptability to join our organisations. Prior work experience (full or part-time), community work, portfolios, online learning and entrepreneurial endeavours will be some of the things we will consider during the employment process.

One place that you will be able to find these jobs is on the Trade Me Jobs site, with a clear indicator that no tertiary qualification is required to apply.

We are excited by the opportunity to engage with a wider cross section of the New Zealand public through our recruitment processes and welcome the chance to diversify the experience within our businesses.

We welcome other New Zealand businesses to follow suit and broaden the diversity of their talent pools by considering a wider range of applicants for roles. If you are a business that would like to join this movement as a signatory to this letter, please contact frances.savage@asb.co.nz and attach your company logo.

We recognise that new jobs require new skills. We welcome a new generation of employees with diverse skills and talent.

 We look forward to changing the conversation.


*Many of the above companies providing their support for this initiative have not previously required a degree qualification, but they are supporting this cause in the interests of changing perception and amplifying the conversation. 

Signatory links

ASB, Adept Group, Adherium, AIA, Alexander ValeAMS, Animation Research, API Group, Artificial Intelligence Forum NZ, Ask Nicely, ATNZAurorAutex, AWF Madison, Axenic, Bayleys, BelongBidfood, Bizness Wins, BlerterBobux, Booktrack, Buckley Systems, Cardinal Logistics, Catalyst, CentralityCeres Organics, Childfund, Christchurch CasinocoHired, Colliers International, ConnexisCountdown, Compete NZ, Connexis, Criffel Station, CycloneDelftDelmaine, Dentsu Aegis NetworkDirect Capital, Eat My Lunch, Ed. CollectiveEdmund Hillary Fellowship, EmergentEnspiral Dev Academy, ePay, Euro Corporation, Exess Connectivity, Figure NZ, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Flux Federation, FonterraFoodstuffs North IslandFrondeFrontside, Future You, GBL PersonnelGiftstationGo Bus, HaparaHarrison Grierson, HiFX, Hi Tech SolutionsHi-Tech Trust, HudsonHunchbuzzIcebergIcebreakerThe IcehouseiMokoIntergenInveco Group LimitedIT Engine Limited, IT Partners, Jucy, Keola, Key Skills Recruitment, KidscoinKiwirailKotahiKPMG, LaunchpadLaunchspaceLittle Island, Lotto NZManaiakalani, Masterlink, Master PlumbersMelon HealthMethod, MetlifecareMicrosoftMoaMobi2Go, Modica GroupMondialeMovio, My Food BagNaveya and Sloane‎, Net Your Job, NetQNext Foundation, Noel LeemingNW Group, Nyuk Nyuk, NZ Certified Builders, NZ PostNZ RiseNZ TechNZRSOMG Tech, Online RepublicOptimalBI, Orion Health, Osynlig, Parrot Analytics, PentechPioneer Capital PledgeMe, PopulatePrestige Lawyers, Primary ITOPure Commerce, QualITRadius Care, RaygunReddy Group, Ria, Ricoh, Roam, Room 9Ruckus MediaRush Digital, RWR Group (Retail World Resourcing, Hospoworld Resourcing and RWR Executive) Safe Stack, Search Republic, SeecomService IQShineSkycity, Smile DealersSMXSolarcity, Soul MachinesSparkSpidertracks, Spokephone, Stafford Engineering Ltd, Student Pulse, Summerset GroupSwaytech, T & G Global, Taranaki FuturesTasman Foreign ExchangeTech Futures Lab, The Big IdeaThe Exponential AgencyThe Mind Lab, The TrustsThe Warehouse Group, Think Concepts LtdThreeSixty Capital Partners, TomohawkTorpedo 7Totara LearningTourism Holdings NZ, TracmapTrade MeTrilogy International Limited, TSB Bank, TVNZUnfilteredUnitec, UnleashedVector, Vend, Venture Centre, VerveVista Group, VodafoneWaiora PacificWarehouse Stationary, Whanau Tahi, Wine Searcher, WorldFront, YellowYouthhubXero, Z EnergyZX Security, 3D Printing Systems


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Media links

http://www.hrmonline.co.nz/news/pwc-drops-degree-requirement-236084.aspx – PWC Australia drops degree requirement

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/17/private-schools-seek-to-dump-a-to-f-grading/ – Private schools seek to dump A to F grading

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56FwkZ7olak – Sue Suckling, Chairperson, NZQA talks about the future of qualifications

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/ernest-young-degree-recruitment-hiring-credentialism/406576/ – EY changes hiring policies

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/18/penguin-ditches-the-need-for-job-seekers-to-have-university-degrees – Penguin Books ditches requirement for university degrees

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-18/why-top-companies-are-ditching-degree-requirements-for-some-jobs/8449236 – Australian article on leading companies removing the requirement for formal qualification

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/sep/15/posh-bbc-removes-qualifications-from-cvs-of-job-applicants?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Gmail – ‘Posh’ BBC removes qualifications from CVs of job applicants

https://www.cio.co.nz/article/608100/tertiary-education-failing-prepare-work-ready-students/ – Is tertiary education failing to prepare work ready students?