When New Zealand businesses grow, they create good jobs and improve New Zealand’s standard of living. To grow, businesses need to draw from a skilled workforce. They need to attract and retain talented staff.
Women as a workforce are currently under-employed, unemployed or under-utilised at a higher rate than men. One in three employed women work part-time, and of those part-time working women, one in five is under-employed. Barriers to fully ulitising women’s skills include the need for flexible work, part-time work, and managing childcare demands.
Over 95 percent of businesses in New Zealand are small to medium enterprises i.e. with fewer than 50 employees (SMEs). Providing ‘family-friendly’ work opportunities can be a challenge. However, for SMEs to be sustainable and grow they need to attract and retain talented staff, who often need family-friendly work environments.
Provisions that enable parents to combine work and care are critical for women to achieve greater economic independence and essential for any strategy aimed at improving productivity and economic growth. Paid parental leave, affordable quality childcare, flexible working conditions (for men and women), and a tax-transfer system that ensures work is worthwhile are key drivers of labour market participation for women.
The Ministry’s work in this area includes:
- working with key business leaders to produce resources to support SME business owners provide family-friendly work environments
- monitoring key indicators of women’s pattern of work (both paid and unpaid)
- contributing to the development of labour, education, social welfare policies that enable women to increase their skills across the full range of occupations and to combine work and care