Top tips when recruiting for a middle manager

Executive recruiters are urging employers to be at the top of their game when seeking middle managers after survey reveals a shortage of skilled middle managers across New Zealand industries.

Shortage of middle managers

Middle managers within the Technical, Operations, Accounting, IT and Engineering industries are the hardest roles to recruit for according to a Hays’ recruitment survey completed by New Zealand and Australian businesses.

A shortage of staff management skills was also identified as having the highest impact on business effectiveness.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Vital for improving company performance, middle managers report to an organisation’s top-tier management, meanwhile managing one or more teams under them. Middle managers include branch managers, department managers, team leaders and supervisors – any type of manager that falls between the two-tiers. 

Principal Consultant Steve Kennedy has been delivering executive recruitment strategies for more than 20 years.

He explains the importance of a middle manager: “Middle managers are the sandwich layer between the top-tier management and employees. They are crucial to ensuring that strategic direction disseminates through the organisation in line with its culture and values. They will possess the fundamental management skills required to implement change without leakage and friction, during which leadership qualities shine through.

“Being able to recruit competitively for middle manager roles is essential to securing the skills required for business growth and succession.”

Top tips for recruiting middle managers

Here are Steve’s top tips for recruiting middle managers in New Zealand’s competitive market.

Shoulder tap

“Take a proactive approach to finding those who are not actively searching for a role. Find the best talent in the market and tap them on the shoulder. With a shortage of middle managers, chances are they will be well-established in a similar role elsewhere.  

“Having the ability, database and knowledge for this approach is key to searching and takes years of experience, whether that’s in the industry itself or via a well experienced recruiter.”

Desirable company perks

“Once you’ve found the right person for your organisation, getting them on board is often the biggest hurdle for employers.

“Create a desirable company package that’s hard to say ‘no’ to. A manager will be looking for more than competitive pay. Promote opportunities for career progression, incentives (bonuses, long-service leave), a positive company culture and flexibility.”

Positive employer branding

“Skilled and talented managers will have completed their own due diligence on your organisation so ensure that your employer branding boasts excellence.

“A quick Google and social media search can create immediate impressions about a company. Poor reviews, inactivity and lack of engagement will stand out for the wrong reasons.

“With demand for middle managers being high, you won’t be the only person seeking the industry’s best talent, so make sure you’re promoting your organisation at its best to stay a step ahead of competitors.”

What next?

Are you struggling to find the talent to take your organisation to the next level? Talk to Steve about an executive recruitment solution for your needs. Call 021 223 2850 or email

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