Tirohanga whānui | Overview

Ngā āhuatanga o te ohu mahi | Characteristics of the workforce

Women are strongly represented in the Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) workforce. Around 58% (n=28,545) of the workforce identified as female, 41% (n=20,117) identified as male and 1% (n=410) identified as another gender. This is mostly driven by higher female representation at Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs) where they form 60% of the workforce compared to 49% at Research Organisations (ROs).

The RSI workforce is older than the overall workforce of Aotearoa New Zealand. This is due to a lower proportion of the RSI workforce being under the age of 30, with this age category forming 16% of the RSI workforce, compared to 24% of the overall workforce. All other age categories were overrepresented relative to the overall workforce.

The majority of the RSI workforce is New Zealand European, forming 51% of the workforce at TEIs and 68% at ROs. Māori (11% at TEIs, 5% at ROs, 3% at businesses) and Pacific Peoples (4% at TEIs, 1% at ROs, 1% at businesses) are underrepresented among the RSI workforce relative to population share across organisation types.

The majority of role types held by the RSI workforce in ROs are research staff (44%), followed by technical staff (26%) and support staff (16%). Māori (7%), Pacific Peoples (1%), and women (32%) are underrepresented in senior leadership roles at ROs relative to population share.

The use of temporary employment arrangements is particularly high at universities, with temporary contracts forming 49% of employee contracts at universities, compared to 13% at ROs. Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are particularly affected by temporary employment arrangements.

Mana Taurite, te Kanorau me te Whakauruuru | Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Several organisations, mostly Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), universities and independent research organisations (IROs), indicated that they have varied policies and programmes in place to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace, including programmes specifically for women and Māori.

Key areas of support included creating employee networks, targeted recruitment for under-represented groups, and cultural competency training (especially for Māori cultural competency).

Fewer organisations had programmes specifically for Pacific Peoples than for Māori.

Business respondents were less likely to report they had EDI policies and more likely to claim that they hire people based on ability and not on race, gender or ethnicity.

Ahurea Wāhi Mahi | Workplace culture

RSI organisations, particularly ROs and TEIs, outlined fairly extensive measures to build a positive workplace culture, particularly in the context of COVID-19 which saw increased organisational focus on health and wellbeing. This aligns with findings from the RSI Workforce Survey of Individuals.

As part of their COVID-19 response, many organisations also introduced measures to minimise the financial effects of the pandemic on their employees. Most also implemented COVID-19 protocols and introduced new policies, such as special leave for COVID-related absences.

Hanga Pūkenga me te Pupuri Pūmanawa | Building Skills and Sustaining Talent

RSI organisations provide a range of professional development opportunities to improve their workforce’s capability. The most common types of support are paying for staff to attend conferences, paying for staff to join professional networks, and providing training opportunities.

Responses highlighted areas which could benefit from more widespread implementation across the sector, notably leadership development programmes and coaching and mentoring programmes.

Some RSI organisations also provide specific support to ECRs, although ECR-specific initiatives were lower in number than initiatives for the general workforce.

Rapu Kaimahi i Tāwāhi | Overseas Recruitment

Over half of RO respondents, including all CRIs, recruit staff from overseas. The dominant reasons for RSI organisations hiring overseas candidates are a lack of domestic candidates with the required skillsets or expertise, to increase international competitiveness, and to complement domestic capability development.

RSI organisations reported that the main barriers to overseas recruitment are immigration processes, uncompetitive salaries and high living costs, and high recruitment and relocation costs.

Mātauranga Māori, ngā Tūmanakohanga Māori me Te Tiriti Mātauranga Māori | Māori aspirations and Te Tiriti

Most policies outlined by organisations to support their Māori capacity (in Māori and non-Māori employees) and the Vision Mātauranga (VM) policy were concentrated at CRIs and universities.

The given policies were generally linked to broader organisational policies for training staff and addressing inequities. These include engaging and developing partnerships with Māori, enhancing the representation of Māori employees, organising VM workshops, training and events, and engaging with and training staff about Mātauranga Māori.