Auckland-based man Michael Oliver faces persistent hurdles in his epic job hunt. Photo / Provided
Michael Oliver just wants to work.
The 41-year-old was fired nearly 18 months ago amid structural changes in the government agency where he worked.
The arrival of Covid-19 and its lockdown has not deterred Oliver and since the start of last year he has applied for more than 3100 jobs. She took 158 interviews – in person, zoom, on the conference phone, on the phone, and gave four presentations to potential employers.
He also underwent 48 personality tests.
She makes her own applications but also uses three different recruitment agencies to issue her CV – for eight applications each day of the year.
There have been some successes – he’s been offered the role four times – but all of them have been scrapped as the country has gone into a yo-yo lockdown and unemployment has risen.
“All I want is to pay my bills, provide for my son, and buy little luxury items like coffee or ice cream,” Oliver told the Herald on Sunday.
“I just want to work, whatever it is to help pay the bills.”
Oliver, who lives in Auckland North Shore, began his job search in sales and account management, where he has over 20 years of experience.
But facing brick wall after brick wall, she has been looking for any job to help pay the bills – counting on the support of friends to help her through tough times.
“I’ve applied for supermarket shelf packing, bus driving, fruit picking, cafe work, garbage collection, retail. You name it – I’ve applied,” he said.
Oliver was turned down from some of these roles and told he was too qualified.
“All of this requires hours of input, research, testing, dedication, effort.
“It weighs on your stress levels, mental health when there is no effort from the recruiter and no excuses are given when it doesn’t work.”
Oliver, who is the single father of a 7-year-old boy, says after his spare money dries up, he will have to dive into his home savings to keep him afloat – that means giving up the dream of owning a home.
“The benefits barely cover my rent and child support. Not enough to survive let alone pay routine bills like gas and food. It doesn’t cover the basics of life.”
The latest figures show New Zealand’s unemployment rate at 4.9 percent in the December quarter – down from 5.3 percent in the previous quarter.
But economists also warn that data could be noisy because of the conflicting repercussions of Covid-19 such as closed borders restricting immigration.
“We have seen a sharp decline in the number of people who are losing their jobs, or wanting more hours worked … today’s report is absolutely incredible,” said Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr when the figures were released in March.
Oliver said he received a lot of help from family and friends, but he also became isolated.
“Stress levels have reached their peak – it is a significant strain on mental health with persistent concerns about the cost of living, unstable accommodation, and the need to move without having funds.”