Participation Gap

Gender Participation Gap

A participation gap can be said to exist in industries and organisations where women make up less than 40% of the overall workforce.

The workforce participation gap for women is slowly closing, but sustained and bold action is required to continue to close the gap in order for Aotearoa, New Zealand to realise the significant economic benefits of equal workforce participation highlighted in last year’s report.

Industries across the Aotearoa economy continue to close the gap on gender workforce participation, with over half the industries that we track now having women make up more than 40% of the workforce. However, the speed at which the gap is closing has slowed compared to previous years.

There are also some headwinds that should be considered going into next year. During difficult economic times women are adversely impacted by job losses (1.8 times more women than men lost the job during COVID). In addition migration patterns into New Zealand have historically had a slight male skew further impacting workforce participation. This is one to watch especially considering our economy will continue to rely on inward migration to fill skill shortages.

Gender Participation by NZ Industries Results continue to be consistent with previous year results with roughly half of New Zealand industries reporting female participation over 40%. Industries where participation is under 40% continue to reduce the gap, but the pace has slowed when compared to the previous year.

The previous year had an average improvement in participation of 1.1%, that had reduced to 0.62% this year. Construction is the main exception with a 1.52% reduction in gap, which is twice as fast as the previous year.

Champion organisations outpacing the New Zealand market on workforce participation for women.

Champions continue to have a higher proportion of female participation in 77% of industries measured this year. This higher proportion is especially apparent in traditionally comminated male fields such as Transportation, Manufacturing Electricity and Construction where Champion organisations also continue to close the gap faster than the New Zealand market.

Women closing the gap in highly skilled roles

Highly skilled female workforce participation had a notable increase of 1.8% this year. This is an important gap to close because it breaks down traditional occupational segregation and will help to reduce the gender pay gap.

Ethnic and cultural diversity in our workplaces

As the ethnic and cultural makeup of Aotearoa continues to become more and more diverse, organisations are putting significant effort into understanding the ethnic and cultural makeup of their workforce and are using that data to design employee value propositions and experiences that consider the cultural makeup of their people.

There was a significant increase in the number of Champions submitting ethnicity information with 48 submitting this year, up from 39 in 2022.

Overall, Champion organisations have a more ethnically diverse workforce when compared to New Zealand working age population but there is still significant work to do to drive continue to attract and retain diverse ethnic talent into all levels of an organisation.

We have changed how we represent the data for Ethnicity to better represent each category. The ethnicity percentage calculation is now done from the total number of employees in the organisation (excluding “Not Stated” as in previous years). This means that employees that identify with more than one ethnicity will be counted against both ethnicities and if you sum up the below ethnicities will add up to over 100%.Capturing the additional ethnicity information allows us to show the impact of Other Ethnicities on the workforce make up In future reports we will look at further data enhancements to provide more insight into the Other Ethnicity make up.