MĀori in the New Zealand labour market
Published 15 December 2009
What does the report cover?
Māori in the New Zealand labour market provides a detailed look at Māori labour market performance over the last five years, with particular focus on the recession's impact. Drawing on a wide range of the latest data, the report covers such topics as Māori in education, employment, unemployment and disengaged youth. The report also paints a picture of the future Māori workforce and the forces that will shape it.
Who will be interested in the report?
Māori in the New Zealand labour market will be of interest to those making strategic and policy decisions at a national level by providing a comprehensive picture of Māori labour market outcomes. It will also appeal to those wanting a good introductory coverage of the position of Māori in New Zealand's labour market.
The report is the second in the National Monitoring Series of labour market reports, following the publication of the Youth in the New Zealand labour market in June.
Link to summary document
Link to full report
The outlook for Māori in the labour market
- The outlook for the labour market over the short-term both nationally and for Māori remains relatively weak. Unemployment is likely to continue to increase into 2010, with Māori expected to remain disproportionately affected, with employment growth not expected to return until the June quarter and at a subdued rate.
- Weakness is expected to continue in industries with a disproportionately large share of Māori workers. A large proportion of Māori are employed in the manufacturing, retail and tourism-related industries which are expected to experience a fall in employment over the short-term, so this means that Māori will continue to be disproportionately affected. However, confidence in another key employer of Māori, the construction industry, is beginning to return.
- Gains that have been made in Māori participation in training and education should help dampen the impact of the recession. Data from September 2009 shows a 17.2% increase in 15-24 year old Māori engaged in formal study, compared with a year earlier. This will translate into upskilling and should help ensure students entering (or re-entering) the workforce are better positioned once the labour market improves.
- Over the years ahead, treaty settlements will also support iwi to realise their economic potential. In turn, this should improve Māori labour market outcomes by creating a demand for a wide range of workers of all skill levels, including some highly skilled workers to administer iwi-led projects. This should help address high Māori unemployment.
- The unemployment rate for Māori has risen at a faster rate than the rate for non-Māori over the last year and stood at 11.2% in the year to September 2009, compared with 4.7% for non-Māori.
- In September 2009, 20,900 (or 34.5%) of those receiving an unemployment benefit were Māori, following a period of decline in Māori unemployment beneficiary numbers between 2004 and 2008.
- Among Māori, youth had the highest rates of unemployment, with 23.1% of those aged 15-24 years unemployed in September 2009. Youth generally have the highest unemployment rates as they have less experience and are lower skilled, making them generally less likely to get jobs and more likely to be laid off earlier than other workers.
- By region, the highest Māori unemployment rate was in Gisborne/Hawkes Bay at 15.8%, followed by Northland at 12.6%.
Māori labour force participation
- The labour force participation rate for Māori has increased strongly over the past five years, at a greater rate than for non-Māori. It now stands at 67.7% in September 2009, just below the rate of 68.6% for non-Māori. However, there is evidence that it is beginning to decline.
- Māori participation rates by gender are relatively similar to those of non-Māori, which show higher participation by males. Notably, Māori male and female participation over the past five years grew at a faster rate than for non-Māori.
- By age group, the participation rate was highest for Māori aged between 25-54 years old, at 78.4% in September 2009. The participation rate for Māori aged over 55 years was 47.6%, while for Māori youth aged 15-24 years it was 58.2%. Māori participation was lower in the 15-24 and 25-54 years age groups compared to non-Māori, but higher for those 55 years and over. In all three age groups, Māori participation since 2004 has grown more quickly than for non-Māori.
Youth not in education, employment or training (NEET)
- Māori have noticeably higher NEET rates than non-Māori. In the 15-19 year age group, 14.2% of Māori and 6.8% of non-Māori were NEET. In the 20-24 years age group, the rates were slightly higher, with 16.1% of Māori and 9.7% of non-Māori being NEET.
- In the 15-19 year age group, 14.2% of Māori youth were NEET in September 2009, which represents a recent increase after a general decline over the past five years. The Māori male rate stands at 15.0% and the female rate at 13.7%. Recently, there has been little difference between the rates for Māori males and females in this age group.
- The 20-24 year age group shows a higher NEET rate of 16.1% than for the 15-19 year age cohort. However, there has been a sharp rise in the Māori male rate since December 2007. There are significant differences between the Māori male and female rates in this age group. In September 2009, the rate for Māori males was considerably higher at 19.1%, than for Māori female at 14.1%.
Māori in education
- Over recent years, more Māori have left school with NCEA level 3 or higher and fewer have left school without qualifications. The percentage of Māori school leavers achieving the highest level of schooling, NCEA level 3 or higher, increased between 2005 and 2008 from 10.8% to 19.3%. Significantly, the percentage of Māori pupils who left school with little or no formal attainment dropped from 25.0% to 10.4% over this time.
- The number of Māori leaving school with little or no qualifications declined at a far quicker rate than that of non-Māori since 2005, while improvements in NCEA level 3 attainment were at a similar rate to those shown by non-Māori school leavers.
- Māori females continue to noticeably outperform males at the school level, with 24.3% of females but only 13.5% of males attaining NCEA level 3 in 2008.
- Māori youth participate less in tertiary education than non-Māori. Approximately one-third (34%) of Māori aged 18-19 years participated in some form of tertiary education last year, with the rate stable since 2001.
- Māori had higher tertiary participation rates in the 25-39 year and 40 years and over age groups than the population as a whole, despite fewer 18-19 year olds in study.
- Successful course completions by Māori have increased by two-thirds since 2001 but Māori are less likely to complete degrees, enrol in post graduate study or take courses relevant to the 'knowledge economy' such as the natural and physical sciences, and engineering and related technologies.
- The tendency among all ethnic groups for females to outnumber males among those completing a qualification was most pronounced among Māori. This suggests that Māori males are less likely than females to have gained the skills necessary for a labour market that increasingly demands high skills.
- Māori comprised 18.5% of all industry trainees, which is well above their share of the population.
- Overall 15.6% of modern apprentice trainees are Māori. While only 15.5% of Māori modern apprentices were female, this is higher than the rate for females of all ethnicities. The two most popular modern apprenticeships for Māori were building & construction and engineering.
Māori in employment
- Three out of every five working age Māori were in employment in the year to September 2009.
- Māori represent 11.7% of all workers.
- There were 5,100 fewer Māori in employment in September 2009 compared with the same time in 2008, a drop of 2.0%, which indicates the impact that the economic downturn has had on Māori. In comparison non-Māori employment was much more stable, and dropped by only 400 jobs.
- Among the industries employing the most Māori, the biggest decline in the last year was seen in utilities and construction (down 15.0%, or 4,100 workers) and transport and storage (down 12.9%, or 2,000 workers).
- By occupation, the number of Māori trades workers had the largest fall over the last year (down 15.0%, or 3,600 workers), followed by elementary occupation workers (down 9.2%, or 2,700 workers). The latter are the least skilled workers who are always most at risk in a recession.
- Over the five years to September 2009, the number of Māori in employment increased by 13.0%, or 29,300 jobs, well ahead of the 8.3% growth for non-Māori.
- Over the past five years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Māori in higher skilled occupations and a drop in the number of Māori in semi-skilled and lower-skilled occupations. In particular, growth has been highest in the legislators, administrators and managers occupation group and for trade workers.
- By industry, the number of Māori workers in health and community services showed the highest growth rate over the past five years.
- Māori comprise 9% of workers in knowledge-intensive sectors of the fast-growing 'knowledge economy'. Māori were relatively well represented in the public sector areas of government administration, education, and health, but were under-represented in some of the largest private knowledge intensive sectors, including legal and accounting services, and scientific research services.
The future Māori workforce
- The New Zealand workforce in 2020 will be largely determined by what happens internationally, particularly globalisation, technology developments and climate change.
- Māori-generated economic development will play a more significant role in shaping the 2020 Māori workforce, independently of these international forces.
- Globalisation will see more Māori head overseas to work and more migrants arriving in New Zealand for work. Furthermore, higher numbers of businesses will relocate overseas, taking with them low skilled jobs in sectors such as manufacturing, currently a leading employer of Māori.
- The development and utilisation of new technology will mean that workers will need to upgrade their skills, knowledge and experience by training more frequently. Māori should aim to continue their recent gains in educational achievement and look to further enrol in courses that tomorrow's knowledge economy will demand.
- Environmental pressures, especially climate change and natural resource constraints, may have a larger impact on Māori because of the concentration of Māori businesses in the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
Demographic factors influencing Māori labour market outcomes
- Māori have a younger age profile compared with the rest of the New Zealand population, due in part to a higher birth rate and lower birth expectancy. This significant demographic difference means proportionately more Māori are likely to currently be in school or in training, compared with the broader population.
- The Māori population is projected to grow at an annual average rate of 1.4% to 2021, from its 2006 level of 565,300. By 2021 Māori are projected to represent around 16% of the New Zealand population compared with 14% currently.
- Over the next twenty years, considerably more Māori will enter the workforce, and will represent an increasing share of it, as more non-Māori retire.
Quick facts about Māori in the labour market (http://www.dol.govt.nz/publications/lmr/lmr-quick-facts-maori.asp)
For further information, please contact the Labour Market Analysis team