Sustainable, decent and inclusive employment

RWPs focus on increasing workforce diversity and opportunities for priority groups

Several RWPs highlight the need for regions to develop industry and sub-regional workforces in a way that reflects their demography, and proactively offer opportunities for priority groups for the future. Multiple RWPs have a specific focus on the need to improve the attraction and retention in employment of groups currently underrepresented in the labour market. This includes supporting employers to create more culturally inclusive workplaces and increase the flexibility of employment conditions to enable currently underutilised workers to fully participate in the labour market.

Central government agencies play a crucial role in fulfilling the Crown’s obligations as Te Tiriti partner. The mahi that the RSLGs have done to date, and will continue to build upon, adds value to this partnership. RSLGs enable agencies to have a clearer picture of the needs of iwi, hapū and whānau Māori. In particular, the RSLG co-governance model provides a space where iwi and hapū can explain how they intend to exercise their rangatiratanga within their rohe.

This aligns with the broader Government focus on equitable employment outcomes

The Government has a commitment to ensuring that all New Zealanders can fulfil their potential in developing skills, finding secure employment and engaging in rewarding careers. This aligns with the RSLG focus on inclusive, decent and sustainable employment. A key component of the Government’s commitment is supporting the economic and employment aspirations of groups that have persistently poor employment outcomes. Steps to achieving this vision include helping workplaces to modernise and workers and businesses to be resilient and adaptable in the face of the changing nature of work.

The nature of work will continue to evolve in New Zealand in the context of global megatrends, such as technology change, demographic change, globalisation and climate change. Across a range of employment related initiatives – Just Transitions, Future of Work, New Zealand Income Insurance – the Government is prioritising equity by seeking to ensure the impact and opportunities arising from change are more evenly distributed.

Work is underway by agencies to improve employment outcomes of priority groups and increase workforce diversity in key sectors

Employment Action Plans (EAPs)

The 7 EAPs that support the Government Employment Strategy focus on improving outcomes for groups that are disadvantaged in the labour market: youth; disabled people; Māori; Pacific peoples; older workers; former refugees, recent migrants and ethnic communities; and women. EAPs include actions to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce, including supporting employers to look beyond their traditional labour pools, to adjust their recruitment practices and to adapt the culture of their workplaces. While 5 of the 7 action plans have only been released in 2022, monitoring and reporting dashboards are available for the plans released in 2019 and 2020.

Industry Transformation Plans

Industry Transformation Plans (ITPs) set a long-term vision and actions for 8 industries: advanced manufacturing, agritech, construction, digital technologies, fisheries, food and beverage, forestry and wood processing, and tourism. The Plans are being created in partnership by business, workers, Māori and Government.

ITPs include an employment and workforce component, which often cover similar issues to those raised by RSLGs, such as diversity in the workplace and opportunities for skills development. For example, one of the priorities of the draft Advanced Manufacturing ITP is attracting and developing a diverse, high-skilled, high-wage workforce, and the focus of the first phase of the Tourism ITP is on enabling better work. ITPs are at different stages in the development process (more information is contained in Annex 1).

Several RSLGs that have high concentrations of employment in these industries are already working, or are planning to work, to bring together WDCs, ITPs and industry in their regions to develop tailored regional workforce and skills development approaches.

Annex 1: Additional information on central government agency programmes

Active Labour Market Programmes Review

RSLGs have outlined their interest in sustainable employment. The Active Labour Market Programmes (ALMPs) Review focuses on redeployment of displaced workers when work is not sustainable. ALMPs assist people into employment by supporting them to find and retain suitable work (including removing barriers to their ability to get or retain a job, or to move between jobs) and support the reskilling and redeployment of displaced workers. In 2021, MBIE, MSD and MoE undertook a review of New Zealand’s suite of ALMPs aimed at ensuring we have the right ALMPs to contribute to a more equitable and efficient labour market. This review was recommended in the 2019 Welfare Expert Advisory Group report, in addition to the report’s recommendations that supported the functions of RSLGs.

The review identified gaps in the ALMP system for programmes and services to support disabled people, including people with health conditions, who want to work and people who have been displaced from work (either through redundancy or due to reduced work capacity). The ALMP review also identified opportunities to improve the monitoring and evaluation of ALMPs and introduced investment principles to guide Government’s decision-making. In June 2022, Ministers considered options to address these gaps, including ways to support displaced workers who will become New Zealand Income Insurance claimants in the future, and requested further work be done to progress those options. This work is an ongoing collaboration between MSD, MBIE and ACC.

Future of Work Tripartite Forum

The Future of Work Tripartite Forum has considered the importance of good work/good workplaces for New Zealand, and has identified 8 elements of good work, ranging from fair wages and economic security, to lifelong learning and opportunity, and health safety and wellbeing. The Forum has also focused on skills development for both employers and employees to ensure regional industries and their workforces can adapt to technological and environmental change, which the evidence shows will differentially impact some groups. This is of relevance to the RWPs that highlight the importance of decent jobs and meaningful work, in-work skills development, and opportunities for career progression.

Future of Work Tripartite Forum

Central government agencies have identified opportunities for collaboration with RSLGs

  • Central government agencies will continue to provide updates on work that is particularly relevant to each region via the MBIE secretariat, such as progress on an ITP relating to RSLG priority sectors. In many cases, representatives from these initiatives have presented this information at RSLG meetings, and we recognise that many RWPs highlight these initiatives.
  • Central government agencies can provide resources for dissemination to RSLG networks, such as employer best practice guides, as they are developed in EAP work programmes.
  • Several RWPs have actions to map local or iwi/hapū-led initiatives underway regionally as a first step to identifying gaps. This will also identify funding coordination failures for Māori communities that have resulted in inequitable provision. Central government agencies will continue to provide RSLGs, through the MBIE secretariat, with information on the national programmes being delivered in their regions.
  • The ALMP review considered government-funded or -provided interventions that actively assist people into employment. While many of these initiatives are delivered regionally, the review did not cover regionally developed and funded programmes. RSLGs’ perspectives on regional skills and labour market needs will contribute to regional and community insights to inform the mix and targeting of ALMPs that will be needed alongside the education system, improving the relevance of vocational education and training.
  • Education, employment and training agencies will consider the regional priorities identified in RWPs in the development of their own priorities and initiatives.
  • Central government agencies value RSLG analysis of gaps in provision or identification of regional best For example, RSLGs can shine a light on Māori-designed programmes where iwi/hapū/Māori innovation is responding to Māori business, workforce and skills development needs (Mā te Māori, Mo te Māori).