Low pay in New Zealand report

This exploratory report uses the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to investigate the make-up and size of the low pay sector in New Zealand between 2006 and 2015.

We commissioned this research to better understand the low pay sector within New Zealand, and the changing nature of this group in recent years.

Low pay in New Zealand [PDF, 765 KB]

A particular focus of the study was on identifying who is low paid, to build a comprehensive portrait with regard to their individual, household, and job characteristics, over the period 2006 to 2015. This is the first time that the the IDI has been interrogated in this way.

Main findings

Individuals in low pay are more likely to have weaker attachment to the labour market, relative to individuals earning close to the median wage. They tend to have shorter employment spells, higher likelihood of multiple employers, higher propensity to receive a benefit and have longer benefit spells, relative to the median worker.

The low pay is correlated with being female, working part-time, aged 20-29 years or over 65 years, holding a low level of educational attainment, and being non-European.


The results in this paper are not official statistics, they have been created for research purposes from the IDI, managed by Statistics New Zealand. The opinions, findings, recommendations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors, not Statistics NZ, or MBIE.