Aotearoa New Zealand’s Employment Strategy
The Employment Strategy presents the Government’s vision for the labour market to improve employment outcomes for all New Zealanders.
This is the web version of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Employment Strategy.
Download the PDF version:
All New Zealanders can participate in employment with opportunities to fulfil their needs and aspirations
Work is an important part of our lives generating lifetime and intergenerational benefits. It contributes to the physical, mental, cultural and financial wellbeing of workers and their families. Work provides people with opportunities to use, develop and pass on their skills and knowledge. It creates a sense of purpose, helps build social connections and networks and has a positive impact on people’s physical and mental health. Well-functioning labour markets are necessary for our economic growth and standard of living. They support businesses to find workers with the skills that the business needs to grow and create new jobs. They support workers to find work and move to jobs with opportunities to fulfil their goals.
Work to achieve the Strategy’s vision is underpinned by Te Tiriti principles of rangatiratanga, equity, active protection, options and partnership.
Purpose of the strategy
The Employment Strategy provides direction to ensure government initiatives and programmes contribute to a well-functioning labour market. The purpose of the Strategy is to improve the employment outcomes of all New Zealanders. It is intended to help guide government work programmes across the employment, education and training system. The framework can be used as a tool for analysis to identify gaps and opportunities for new initiatives and the trade-offs between different policy options.
The Strategy takes an all-of-government approach because many factors impact on people’s ability to participate in work and experience positive employment outcomes. A range of initiatives from across government contribute to achieving the Strategy’s vision. Underpinning the Strategy are 7 employment action plans focused on groups of people who consistently experience poor employment outcomes: young people, disabled people, Māori, Pacific peoples, women, older workers, and former refugees, recent migrants and ethnic communities. The employment action plans recognise their different experiences by identifying tailored actions to remove barriers and lift employment outcomes.
While the Strategy is focused on government work programmes, where possible, this work should be done in partnership with iwi and hapū/Māori, industry and regional representatives, businesses, workers and their representatives, and communities.
How we will monitor the Strategy
Each year we will track progress of some key labour market indicators. These indicators will provide a temperature check on how the labour market is performing and may identify where further work is required. The indicators have been identified because they measure long-term trends and support ongoing monitoring. They are based on data sources currently available. New indicators may be added as robust data sources become available. These indicators should be considered alongside the monitoring dashboards for the 7 employment action plans. These dashboards include more detailed breakdowns of key labour market statistics for the groups of people they are focused on.
- Qualifications held by our workforce
- People’s participation in vocational education and training
- People combining work with formal education
- Regional participation in the labour market
- People’s participation in the labour force
- Underutilisation in the labour force
- Regional job growth
- Job growth for different industries
- Employees’ perceptions of job security
- Growth in labour productivity
- Regional gross domestic product (GDP) per capita
- Hourly wages
- Diversity in public service employment
- People’s experiences of discrimination at work
- Work-related health and safety
What we want to achieve (objectives)
Build a skilled workforce so workers have the skills they need to achieve their career aspirations.
Thriving industries and regions
Support thriving industries and regions so businesses can create more jobs and people can work where they choose.
Support workplaces to respond to the changing world of work and to provide healthy, safe and productive jobs with opportunities for workers to progress.
Promote inclusive work so everyone has opportunities to participate in meaningful and fulfilling work.
Why this objective is important
To choose and follow their desired career pathways, workers need quality information about current and future job opportunities. Workers need access to the qualifications and skills that are sought by businesses. Lifelong learning enables people to maintain and build their skills helping them be productive and adaptable in the face of change. The better skilled our workforce, the more prosperous our communities will be. Investment in skills benefits workers, their families, employers and our wider society. It helps to reduce inequities by increasing workers’ resilience and expanding the opportunities available to them.
Thriving industries and regions
Many people, particularly Māori, have strong economic, cultural and social ties to their regions. Supporting our regions and industries to thrive and create jobs is a key part of realising the potential of all people in all parts of the country. Productive and resilient regions, industries and firms deliver high quality products and services that contribute to the economy and higher living standards.
Workplaces that are responsive to their workers have higher engagement, productivity and job satisfaction. They provide clear career pathways with development opportunities. Workers’ skills and knowledge are wellmatched to the work they do. Successful workplaces are healthy and safe, and support work-life balance and different working arrangements. They go beyond minimum employment standards. Successful workplaces are also prepared for the future and respond to the trends changing the nature of work – globalisation, climate change, technological progress and demographic shifts.
Everyone should be able to participate in meaningful and fulfilling work irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, health conditions, disabilities or any other personal characteristics. We acknowledge that some groups need additional support to achieve better employment outcomes. This requires system-wide change as well as within individual workplaces to be inclusive, embrace diversity and be free from discrimination and bias. We need to work together to address longstanding disadvantage, stereotypes and prejudices.
How the government will contribute to this objective
We will ensure the education, immigration and welfare systems work together to meet the current and future skills needs of workers and businesses.
Thriving industries and regions
We will provide institutions and programmes that connect industries and regions with the education, immigration and welfare systems. To do this we will work with iwi/Māori, sector organisations, unions, businesses and community groups.
We will support workplaces to provide all workers with quality work with opportunities to maximise their potential. We will protect workers from exploitative work and enforce minimum standards.
We will work with our communities to deliver or fund services, which cater for different ethnicities and cultures, to support equitable outcomes for all. Services will be designed in ways that enhance self-determination, based on evidence of what works, and be tailored and responsive to individual, whānau, community and industry circumstances.
What success will look like (outcomes)
- have strong foundation skills, including technical literacy
- have access to quality careers pathway advice
- have educational pathways that provide the skills needed to participate in a changing world of work, including problem-solving, creativity, agility and adaptability
- engage in lifelong learning with opportunities to train and work at the same time
- have opportunities to retrain.
- understand the skills they will need in the future
- understand the benefits of investing in training
- know how and where they can access training
- invest in local workers.
Thriving industries and regions
- have access to good information about the employment opportunities in their region and industry
- have access to good employment in their region and industry
- are able to access relevant and quality education and training.
- engage with the tertiary education sector and industry bodies to convey their skills needs
- have the workforce and skills planning capability and information they need to invest in the future
- create jobs leading to sustainable economic growth
- have the skilled workers they need to take advantage of technological advancements
- diversify and shift into higher value, more productive, and more knowledge intensive activities
- lower their environmental impact and shift to a more sustainable use of energy and resources
- partner with others to develop agreed strategies and interventions to support workforce planning, upskilling and transitions to respond to the changing nature of work.
- are able to combine work, care and social responsibilities without being disadvantaged
- have employment terms and conditions that reflect their skills, qualifications and experience and the contribution they make
- are protected from exploitation
- have opportunities to upskill at work, so they’re able to move up the ladder in their career, make effective contributions to their workplace, and change occupations if they choose to.
- invest in workforce planning, upskilling and developing career pathways for their workers
- place workers in jobs that best match their skills and abilities
- have positive, healthy workplace cultures
- continuously work to lift their management capability
- keep workers safe from harm, including from bullying and harassment
- compete on productivity and innovation rather than low wages.
- have equal access to employment opportunities
- do not experience discrimination in the workplace
- are supported to fulfil their employment aspirations and are able to access rehabilitation and/or re-training when disability or health conditions impact on how they participate in the labour market
- see reduced disparities in employment outcomes between different demographic groups and communities.
- are confident about employing people from diverse backgrounds and understand the advantages of a diverse workplace
- promote diversity through inclusive recruitment and retention strategies
- have diversity at all levels
- know where to go for support from the government (including resources and funding) to create inclusive and accessible workplaces
- know how to accommodate diverse workplace requirements, including for disabled people and people with caring responsibilities.