Local insights report: November 2022

Tāmaki Makaurau local insights report for November 2022.

Top regional insights

  • Education (rangatahi): Students leaving school early are struggling to progress out of low skills occupations. Ministry of Education (MoE) in the region continues to report that when school leavers enter the workforce, they are more likely to enter low-skilled occupations and struggle to transition into other job roles due to a lack of relevant skills. For young people to find meaningful employment it is key that they attain skills that are transferable across a number of pathways, coupled with an awareness of how to grow these to find meaningful employment.

  • Hospitality: The RSLG supports the HospoCred accreditation programme that was recently launched in the region. The programme supports candidates to find quality employers who are investing in developing their workforce. With the ongoing record low unemployment and the hospitality industry in desperate need of employees, the Restaurant Association has also welcomed updates to immigration settings which should see chefs having one less hurdle to jump when qualifying for a visa.

  • Health: Additional funding to attract and support health workers will help alleviate shortages.
    Recently announced funding will help to attract international health workers; increase the Kāiawhina workforce; and increase training for in GPs and Nurse Practitioners. This will capture many of the region’s aspirations expressed in the recently publish regional workforce plan.

Trends at a glance

  • NEET: There are over 15K youth clients aged 18-24 in receipt of a main benefit in the Auckland Region (15% of total working age clients). 46% of youth clients are in Auckland South, while Auckland Central and North both have 27% each.

  • Hospitality: The estimated median hourly rate for tourism and hospitality workers was last calculated at $24.43. This exceeds the current living wage and is 15% higher than the minimum wage across all industries.

  • Health: In July 2022, Tāmaki Makaurau had the highest recent resident increase in New Zealand. This influx has meant that more pressure has been put on an already overstretched health workforce since 1997.

Regional workforce actions

Education (rangatahi)

  • The RSLG supports secondary schools to prototype initiatives that encourage young people across Tāmaki Makaurau to stay and complete secondary school before moving into high-quality tertiary education, employment or enterprise. (EDAP 3.1.4).

  • The RSLG supports Māori-led delivery of support and pastoral care to rangatahi and whānau to make subject and employment pathway choices, understanding future workforce opportunities.


  • The RSLG supports the implementation of the industry-led Future of Hospitality Roadmap Goals, with a focus on raising the attractiveness of the sector by providing better working conditions, ensuring decent employment practices, and changing the image of the sector to ensure good jobs through HospoCred.

  • The RSLG advocates for a thriving hospitality sector that offers better working conditions, based on a strong employer duty of care for its service workforce.


  • Remove barriers and fast track local and migrant training.

  • Utilise the comprehensive data and forecasts existing in the sector to validate investment in workforce development. 

  • The RSLG will support more joined up pathways for career progression with professional categories.

Top labour market challenges

Education (rangatahi): The pandemic has amplified inequities in the education system across the region. These are largely linked to how young people are not progressing through achievements, and the currency of that achievement in terms of transitioning onto high value pathways. MoE has described attendance across Auckland as “in crisis”, and although attendance has been steadily declining in the years prior to 2019, it has been made worse by Covid-19.

  • School attendance data has shown a marked decline since 2015. Right now, almost half of our tamariki do not regularly attend school. In Auckland, only 46.5% of students were attending school regularly.

  • Close to one-third of Māori students (32.8%) and Pacific students (30.4%) met the criteria for regular attendance. Over half of Asian students (53.8% and European/Pākehā students (51.3%) met the criteria for regular attendance.

  • The Territorial Authorities in Auckland with the lowest rates of regular attendance are Mangere-Otahuhu (23.1%), Otara-Papatoetoe (27.6%) and Manurewa (31%).

Hospitality: Concerns are growing that the Fair Pay Agreements bill will draw scarce resources and energy from already over stretched businesses. The Restaurant Association has provided feedback specifying that industry-led action to improve both pay and working conditions can be done well if the sector is given the space to move in a way that works. However, they are concerned that the Bill will draw attention away from those facets, other than pay, which speaks directly to elevating hospitality as a career.

Health: Non-clinical roles are limited in how they are utilised throughout the sector. The sector is undertaking work to address this, including expansion of the Kāiawhina (unregulated healthcare workers) workforce, however progress has been slow. When this is rolled out more widely it will offer many opportunities to rangatahi, particularly those who are currently not formally working but have lived experiences, to start a career – as full support and career pathways remain an important enabler.

Top labour market opportunities

Education (rangatahi): Recent initiatives are helping to close the gap between education and industry. These include:

  • Self-sustaining Trade Academies inside high schools – Massey High School is collaborating with Kainga Ora to give students access to build houses. The students can sell those houses to their local community, which helps them build on a values-based notion of serving the community, and the profits are reinvested in the trade academy.
  • The NCEA Change Programme is enhancing learning by promoting equitable access for all students, and ensuring literacy and numeracy are now co-requisites to gaining an NCEA qualification. Māori knowledge is also being recognised as having equal status and will be equitably valued and resourced. This ensures deeper learning and clearer pathways to further education or work across all communities.

Hospitality: HospoCred is providing businesses a way to show their commitment to best practice. The Restaurant Association accreditation programme was developed in 2022 to create a platform for recognising standards within the hospitality industry. Two hundred and thirty businesses have signed up, showing the value owners see in how this will help them attract and retain staff. Accreditation shows they are committed to the ongoing development of their workers and businesses. 

Health: A dedicated unit has been set up to coordinate and streamline access to international health workers across the system.  With many moving parts in the health eco-system, bottle necks are an issue, but a new internal Te Whatu Ora unit has been established to address this. The unit utilises licensed immigration advisors and seconded Immigration NZ staff, and it will establish pipeline projects for Allied Health, Kāiawhina, Midwifery and Medical Practitioners. The pipelines will be based on the long-established and successful Nursing Pipeline Project and TEC’s targeted priorities for health professions.

Prepared by the regionally led Tāmaki Makaurau Regional Skills Leadership Group.

For further information please contact: tamakimakauraurslg@mbie.govt.nz(external link)

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