Migrants and Labour Market Outcomes
The final aspect of labour market outcomes of migrants that we investigate is their occupations. We observe proportions employed in professional and managerial occupations, technicians and trades. Again, we distinguish between migrant groups by birthplace, their years of residence in New Zealand and their qualifications, as noted in Table 8.1.
It should be noted that the occupation groupings for 1981 data were not comparable with those from later censuses, due to classification changes. In particular, proportions in trades occupations were not easily identifiable from the 1981 data. Additional investigation here would require further, more detailed, data.
Professionals and managerial occupations
The 1996-2006 period has seen an across-the-board increase in the proportion of the employed occupying professional and managerial positions. Figure 8.1 illustrates the increases in proportions for the population groups by their birthplace.
In particular, in 2006, 18.8% of the New Zealand born employed were in professional and managerial occupations, up from 16.3% in 2001 and 14.0% in 1996. For migrant groups, the increase has been more pronounced. From a proportion of 12.4% in 1996, 19.6% of employed migrants in 2006 are in this category. That is, from a percentage noticeably below the New Zealand born figure, the proportion of employed migrants now in professional and managerial positions is higher than the New Zealand born equivalent.
Figure 8.1 Proportion of employed groups in professional occupations
Across the various sub-groups of the migrant population, the proportions are broadly comparable with New Zealand born. The exception to this observation is the Pacific Islands born migrant group.
As for length of residence, there are noticeably higher proportions of professionals for earlier migrants, i.e. 19.7% in 2006, with 23.7% for Asian born, 21.3% for those born in Australia, 20.8% for United Kingdom and Ireland born and 20.2% for Europe and North American born. Again, however, the Pacific Islands born earlier migrant group remains well below the New Zealand born proportion at 11.2%.
Not surprisingly, a majority of the difference for the Pacific Islands born can be explained by the different qualification levels of the groups, so adjusting for qualifications reveals a more comparable outcome for the Pacific Islands born group. For example, 51.7% of Pacific Islands migrants with degree qualifications have professional occupations, compared with 56.3% for the New Zealand born population with degree qualifications.
Further adjusting for years of residence in New Zealand moves this proportion above the New Zealand born figure, that is, 58.9% of Pacific Islands earlier migrants with degree qualifications report professional and managerial occupations.
Trades and technical occupations
There appears to have been negligible difference between 1996 and 2006 in the proportion of New Zealand born employed in trades occupations. The percentage in 2006 was 5.9% compared to 5.8% in 1996.
While there appear to be large changes for the migrant groups, the comparable proportions for all migrant groups by birthplace were below the New Zealand born figures for all three census years. This conclusion holds for all earlier migrant groups as well.
Figure 8.2 Proportion of earlier migrants in trades occupations
Noticeably, this observation continues to hold for migrant groups after adjusting for qualifications. For example, 8.3% of migrants with vocational qualifications reported a trades occupation in 2006, compared to 10.7% for the New Zealand born population with vocational qualifications. Further, for all migrant groups distinguished by birthplace (except for the Other region), the proportion of those with vocational qualifications in trades occupations are below the 10.7% figure for the New Zealand born. Adjusting for length of residence in New Zealand does not alter this observation.
We report similar observations for proportions of the employed in technical occupations. In particular, proportions in technical occupations across all migrant groups by birthplace were below the comparable figure for New Zealand born for all three census years.
Again, this holds for earlier migrant groups by birthplace.
Adjusting for qualification, in general, does not alter this observation. However, some exceptions are noted. In particular, migrants born in Europe and North America and Australia with degree qualifications report slightly higher proportions in technical occupations than the comparable New Zealand born figure.
Migrant occupations summary
The increase in proportions in professional occupations over the past ten years has been experienced across all sub-groups of the populations investigated. The majority of the differences between the New Zealand born and migrant population groups employed in professional occupations can be explained by qualification levels and length of residence.
The prevalence of migrants in trades or technical occupations are lower than New Zealand born equivalents. In this case, however, qualification levels and length of residence do not fully explain these differences.
 That is, at a disaggregation below the 1-digit New Zealand SCO initially obtained.