With the lowest numbers of new nurses seeking jobs in the mid-year new graduate intake in five years, and a higher success rate (71 per cent), less than 150 graduates were still in the job market in mid-July, compared with more than 270 last year.

The result will be fewer new graduates available to be employed using the extra $38m funding tagged in last month’s DHB NZNO nurses settlement to immediately boost staffing numbers in understaffed nursing pressure points in district health boards across the country. (The $38m equates to employing about 500 extra registered nurses.)

The latest statistics released today from the mid-year ACE match between new graduate nurse applicants and DHB jobs show that there were 467 applicants for the mid-year round – nearly 200 down from the 659 last year.

The high employment rate from the previous round was the likely cause of the biggest drop in applicants with only 79 new graduates reapplying for the second or third time for a job through ACE – down from nearly 200 the same time last year. The decline was also due to fewer first time applicants (most of whom would have sat their state finals in early July) which dropped by 73 from 461 last year to 388 this year.

More than 70 per cent (321) of the applicants were matched with a job in the first round – of which 280 got nurse entry to practice (NETP) jobs and 41 got mental health and addiction NESP (nurse entry to specialist practice) jobs.

Fourteen of the 20 DHBs (and Southern Cross Hospital) had 400 jobs on offer, with only a couple of the smaller DHBs with small numbers on offer successfully filling all their jobs in the first match. A further 79 jobs were still to be filled from the 146 applicants left in the ACE talent pool.

The ACE statistics show that 18 of the 35 new graduates who put down Aged Residential Care as a preference were still looking for work after the initial mid-year match – 90 of the 311 seeking a surgical ward position and 76 of the 205 seeking a primary health care position.

The ethnic statistics indicate that the applicants who were the least successful in the first round were Asian graduates who made up nearly a quarter of applicants but are nearly 40 per cent of those who missed out on a job in the first round. The most successful ethnicity was Māori, which made up 15.8 per cent per cent of applicants but 8.2 per cent of the unmatched, followed by ‘other’, who made up 51.4 per cent of applicants but 44.5 per cent of the unmatched and Pacific who were 8.5 per cent of applicants but 7.5 per cent of the unmatched.

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