The way we work is changing. New Zealanders are staying in the workforce for longer, the number of two-working adult households is rising, and advances in technology could increase workplace automation.
The welfare system assumes a labour market based on a permanent 40 hour a week job. This is outdated in a world where many people have jobs which are part time, casual, seasonal or uncertain.
Participation and employment rates are among the highest in the OECD:
NZ’s current labour force participation is 70.9% (people working or looking
for work); but this is projected to fall towards 60% by 2050.
We have particularly high labour participation rates among the mature:
People with disabilities have much lower participation (25.2%) and employment (22.4%).
Around one in eight of the extended labour force are underutilized,
meaning they are either unemployed or are in part-time jobs but want to
work more hours.
Self-employment has grown, but remains a steady share of total employment.
OECD estimates around 35% of NZ jobs are at risk of being automated with 9% at high risk – this puts greater priority on upskilling young workers and has the potential result of increasing the number of job transitions over lifetimes.
Workers most at risk of being displaced by automation are more likely to work shorter hours and paid lower wages or are younger.
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*Statistics New Zealand, Labour Market Statistics: September 2017 quarter