A future-ready resilient workforce

As the major international gateway to Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau is a ‘border city’. Data shows that 40% of people who arrive in Aotearoa New Zealand remain in the region to live and work.

Someone capturing a COVID QR code on their mobile.

Photo: Auckland Unlimited

Being a ‘border city’ provides a mixture of opportunities and challenges, including bringing new and required skills to help labour markets or amplifying the impacts of global crises such as COVID-19 that severely affect business productivity and employment. Tāmaki Makaurau showcased both its compassion and grit while it endured more lockdowns than any other city in Aotearoa New Zealand over the past 2 years. The support of its employers and voluntary workers formed the backbone of the region’s social response systems, which includes essential workers such as health, bus drivers and supermarket workers. Supporting Tāmaki Makaurau to recover from the pandemic and build a highly skilled, inclusive and resilient economy will be the future focus of the RSLG.

Survey of New Zealand arrivals since the onset of COVID-19 helps assess economic impact

Key labour market and workforce insights

  • Young people, Māori and Pacific people have been most affected by COVID-19 in Tāmaki Makaurau, primarily because they tend to be employed in industries that were most exposed to the impacts of restrictions such as Tourism, Hospitality and Retail.
  • The lockdowns led to more than 26,000 people losing their jobs between March and August 2020, with some commentators suggesting up to 200 jobs were lost each day. It is estimated that during the Level 4 lockdowns nearly half a million workers were unable to work. The city was working at under half its capacity, reducing GDP by nearly 14%.
  • The workforce has been subjected to pressures that have never been encountered before and consequently workforce wellbeing will remain a concern for some time to come.
  • As Tāmaki Makaurau ‘builds back better’ the region will identify best practice approaches towards transitioning affected people into sustainable and high-earning job opportunities.
  • There is a need to increase opportunities for a more resilient and productive workforce for Tāmaki Makaurau, considering the disproportionate COVID-19 impacts on the region’s workforce and industries.

Auckland Economic Development Action Plan 2021-2024(external link) — Auckland Council

Future-ready resilient workforce actions

  1. The RSLG supports mobilisation for the development of initiatives and or programmes to ensure Tāmaki Makaurau is prepared to support its workforce to respond to shocks (economic and others) especially in terms of developing future ready and future proof workforce, particularly women and young people. 
  2. The RSLG advocates for the mental health and wellbeing of people to support an agile workforce ready to respond to changing economic and labour market circumstances, while recognising that Tāmaki Makaurau is the border city to Aotearoa New Zealand and its workforce and businesses are at the forefront of economic shocks and workforce disruption.
  3. The RSLG encourages SME activation mentoring and support for rangatahi to ensure resilience and recognises the critical function of the region’s social services organisations and volunteers in supporting the region’s resilience, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. The RSLG endorses programmes that support workers with opportunities to upskill through job displacement, including support to just transitions and potential job losses in the future in those sectors impacted by economic and technology changes.