The aims of the underutilisation work programme are to better understand the social, economic, demographic and work-related characteristics of underutilised workers in New Zealand and the barriers these workers face, as well as to expand our knowledge of the scale and prevalence of labour underutilisation.

Underutilised Workers in New Zealand

This research aims to better understand the various labour market groups in New Zealand who want jobs or more hours of work, known as the underutilised workforce. The report looks at the composition and characteristics of the underutilised workforce, the likelihood of movement in and out of the different sub-groups of the underutilised population, and the reasons for underemployment. It also presents findings on the earnings trajectories of underemployed workers relative to fully-utilised workers over the period affected by COVID-19 compared to before the pandemic.

The study updates and extends previous research on New Zealand’s underutilised workforce undertaken on behalf of MBIE by the New Zealand Work Research Institute at AUT in 2019.

Underutilised Workers in New Zealand: Characteristics, Transience and Earning Trajectories (Report) [PDF 2.2 MB](external link)

Underutilisation in the New Zealand Labour Market (Infographic) [PDF 193KB](external link)

Last updated: 07 December 2022