Case Study

Engineering success with a helping hand from the Philippines.

Dialog Fitzroy never shies away from a big challenge.

The major engineering, fabrication, construction and maintenance firm has been around for 65 years and works on some of the biggest construction and engineering projects across Australia and New Zealand.

A subsidiary of Dialog Group Berhad, a publicly listed, Malaysia-based company with 2,500 employees, Dialog Fitzroy has for years employed skilled temporary workers from Malaysia on its Australasian projects.

But a tight labour market during the tail end of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Dialog Fitzroy took on some major new projects, spurred the company to look further afield for new staff - and to secure them on a more permanent basis.

A partnership with Sunway Global, the New Zealand-owned business that specialises in finding skilled workers in the Philippines to contribute to projects in New Zealand and Australia, opened the door to the nation of 114 million people.

“We needed experienced welders, scaffolders, painters and fabricators, and there just weren't enough people in New Zealand that met our requirements,” says Kiri McAlister, General Manager, Human Resources, at Dialog Fitzroy.

Tapping a vast talent pool

With established networks in Philippines massive labour market, Sunway Global assisted with the recruitment of around 25 Filipino workers over a short period of time.

For McAlister, the appeal in employing Filipinos was clear from the start.

“They are technically very competent, and have very good proficiency in English, which is so important for effective communication when they work on site here,” she says.

Sunway Global’s pre-vetting of candidates reduced the time spent on recruitment dramatically. Additional trade testing undertaken by a Dialog Fitzroy engineer who travelled to the Philippines, meant the company could be confident workers were arriving in the country with the appropriate skills and experience.

Dialog Fitzroy assisted the Filipino migrants through the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme, offering them a pathway to permanent residence in New Zealand, where many of them already had friends and family.

“There’s a well-established Filipino community in New Zealand, which is only growing as New Zealand welcomes more skilled workers to help our economy grow,” says Clive Mackay, Sunway Global’s Director of Sales and Marketing.

A ‘seamless’ experience

McAlister describes the process of bringing workers to New Zealand as “pretty much seamless”, with Sunway Global smoothing the way in everything from candidate identification and qualification vetting to travel arrangements, and ongoing support in New Zealand.

Dialog Fitzroy provides temporary accommodation for its newly arrived workers and has built up the cultural competence of its workforce to create a welcoming environment for new colleagues from the Philippines.

“As Kiwis, we tend to talk quickly, so we’ve learned to slow down a bit,” says McAlister.

“We have Friday prayer sessions and food our Filipino staff prefer. We pay well and we trade our people well.

A “no nonsense” approach from Clive and the Sunway team, coupled with regular communication and reporting has led to an enduring relationship that will smooth the way for further additional labour needs,” says McAlister.

“Sunway just makes it really easy for us to scale our workforce and to help integrate new staff into New Zealand. It’s a highly effective way of accessing the labour your business needs.”

To find out how you can draw on talent to scale up your own projects, talk to Sunway Global, New Zealand’s leading recruiter of in-market and remote Filipino workers.