Women are gaining qualifications at a greater rate than men but their skills are not being translated into greater career opportunities and development in the workplace. Currently many women are educated and trained in areas that do not match where employment is growing.
Despite an increase in qualifications, women are over-represented in minimum wage jobs. More women than men are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET) and Māori, Pasifika women, young mothers, former prisoners are vulnerable to low wage employment and poorer outcomes for themselves and their families.
There is potential for New Zealand’s female labour force to address current and projected skill shortages and for women to achieve greater economic success, thereby also increasing the well-being of their families. Women and girls can be encouraged to train and work in occupations where high growth is projected and where women are currently under represented (in particular, STEM industries and construction and trades) and vulnerable groups of women can be encouraged into training.
Supporting more vulnerable women in education and training and more women in STEM and trades training contributes to Better Public Services goals:
- reduce the number of people continuously receiving working age benefits for more than 12 months by 30 percent – from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017
- 85 percent of 18-year-olds will have achieved NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017
- 60 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds will have a qualification at Level 4 or above in 2018.