Local insights report: February 2023

Wellington region local insights report for February 2023.

This is the web version of the Wellington region local insights report for February 2023. 

You can download the PDF version below.

Top regional insights

February’s severe weather events have caused some shift in our region’s workforce

Many of the region’s trades people are moving north to help rebuild homes and infrastructure in Auckland and Hawkes Bay, so trades businesses here are ‘flat out’. People are also moving into the region, with people who’ve lost work in Hawkes Bay finding work here, especially in Wairarapa’s forestry and visitor sectors.

The region’s visitor sector had a bumper summer, with tourism coming back with a hiss and a roar

Wellington city had 46 cruise ship visits and numerous major events, filling hotels, restaurants and bars, with visitors spilling over into Kāpiti and Wairarapa. Although skills shortages continue to challenge the visitor sector, it is encouraging to see demand grow, bringing vibrance to the whole region.

In other sectors, business confidence is dropping quickly as our region’s business leaders grapple with inflation, rising costs and an unstable international environment

Digital companies are seeing diminishing returns and are hiring less, with a possibility of more layoffs to come. Job losses have been announced in the city and in Kāpiti a major business has closed with the loss of up to 70 jobs in food manufacturing. The mood among business leaders is sober.

Primary health care providers and clinical staff in our region are very tired and stressed, even after the summer break

Currently, service levels are not good, and providers are trying to streamline their work to maintain service and look after their staff.

Meanwhile the COVID-19 ‘surge’ workforce of community healthcare workers, is dropping off as funding comes to an end

Most of the surge workforce is Māori and Pacific peoples. There is an immediate opportunity to retain and develop this workforce to fill demand in the health sector and support better employment in our region.

Trends at a glance

  • 75.9% of our region’s working age population (15 years and over) is participating in the workforce, the highest rate in the last 10 years. This reflects the tight labour market in the Wellington region.
  • Pacific peoples’ participation has grown by 3.7% since last year to 75.2%. This means 2,200 more people have joined the labour force. 
  • NEET rates have improved from last year. The percentage of 15 to 24-year-olds who were Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) dropped 2.6% to 8.2%. Although this is the lowest in the last 10 years, we still have over 6,000 young people who are NEET.

Source: Household Labour Force Survey December 2022

Regional opportunities and challenges

Business Wairarapa is bringing KiwiHost to Wairarapa.

The programme will help local people and businesses build excellence in customer service and people management skills. Interest is high and the first workshop is already full, with others in the series planned later in the year. Skills built through the programme will strengthen Wairarapa’s growing visitor sector and wider service industry.

A major tech careers event is being planned for Tech Week in May

All the region’s secondary schools are invited. This is a chance for our region’s young and not so young to explore the wonderful opportunities in digital technologies in our region. The event will be at the Michael Fowler Centre from 11am to 2pm on Friday 19 May 2023.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa has recently achieved a Treaty settlement

This will pave the way for the Iwi to build and resource its strategy for the future of the rohe. In the longer term, Ngāti Kahungunu will be able to focus on skills development and workforce priorities for its people.

The region’s steel manufacturing businesses have another busy year ahead

There are good opportunities for welders, fabricators, and associated staff such as detailers, computerised drawing, supervisors, project managers, quantity surveyors and estimators.

In Wellington’s public service, restructures continue to impact many people

More people are coming onto the market. As agencies tighten their belts, job numbers are shrinking, and the number of applicants is growing.

Abuse of women on work sites is turning women away from jobs in construction

Some worksites are like the wild west and apprentices and mature women are turning away after years of investment in their training. Pacific families worry for their sisters and daughters in this sector and discourage them from joining. If the industry wants to attract and retain diverse women, employers need to do more to tackle poor male behaviour all the way through the business to make the workplace safe for women.

Some of our region’s school leavers are missing basic information about starting a job

That is information such as the need for employment contracts, wages and salaries, tax deductions, KiwiSaver, pay slips and managing their finances. Without this information, school leavers are easily taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. More education is needed before students encounter the world of work.

Regional workforce plan update

The Wellington Regional Workforce Plan has a focus on maximising workforce, building connections, and supporting young people.

Wellington Regional Workforce Plan

Alongside this work, the RSLG has been preparing advice to help the Tertiary Education Commission plan for investment in tertiary education in 2024.

Maximising workforce

  • Liaised with local government partners regarding uptake of Te Upoko o Te Ika Accord and plans for greater use of social procurement (Action 3).
  • Completed planning to open employment opportunities for disabled people in the region’s councils and commenced engagement (Action 6). 

Building connections

  • Established a connection with Wairarapa Primary Sector Advisory Group to build a picture of primary sector skills needs, in conjunction with Muka Tangata (Action 1).
  • Instigated a workshop for council staff leading local workforce development their areas (Action 1b). This is the first such event in this region. WellingtonNZ is our delivery partner.

Supporting young people

  • Working in partnership with Wellington Regional Leadership Committee and a specialist team in youth engagement to shape an engagement model that benefits regional planning and the young people involved (Action 1).
  • A project is underway to develop education to employment pathways in the region. This has already enabled funding support for an exciting new initiative that will make training in engineering available to students in Hutt Valley (Action 6). 

For more information

For more information about the Wellington local insights report for February 2023, email:


Previous local insight reports

Last updated: 28 March 2023