Beneficiaries engagement with construction
Key findings

When developing strategies to increase construction worker supply, it is important to study all the sources of new workers. This study investigated beneficiaries as a source of construction workers. The number of beneficiaries over time depends on the economy. This was demonstrated by the sharp increase in beneficiaries in 2008 due to the global financial crisis, and the peak in 2011 in Canterbury after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The proportion of beneficiaries that transition into construction is consistent over time. Women have significantly lower rates in transitioning from a beneficiary to a construction worker than men. Increasing the portion of women beneficiates that become construction workers, especially considering there is a higher absolute number of women beneficiaries, could be a beneficial source of construction workers.


As the demand for construction workers change over time, it is useful to study the potential sources for new workers. This report focuses on beneficiaries as a potential pool of construction workers. Particularly, it investigates where there has been historic success in attracting beneficiaries into the construction sector. This will provide insight into where there are opportunities for increasing the number of beneficiaries that join the construction workforce.

We define beneficiaries as those receiving more than $10,000 (cpi adjusted for years earlier than 2018) in payments, excluding student allowances and pensions.

Number of beneficiaries

The chart below breaks down the demographics of beneficiaries. RC stands for regional council, and TLA stands for Territory Local Authority. When tracking the number of beneficiaries over time, a spike can be observed after the global financial crisis in 2008. This sharp increase is particularly visible in the Auckland region, with a decreasing impact in regions with less total beneficiaries. Since 2010 there has been a rapid declination in beneficiaries in the Auckland region with every other region stabilising.

Looking at 2018, the Auckland region has the highest number of beneficiaries, of over double that of the Waikato, which is the region with the second highest. Waikato is followed by the Canterbury region and then Wellington. When breaking it down by city, Auckland has over three times the number of beneficiaries as Christchurch, which is in second place.

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Transition into construction

The chart below demonstrates the percentage of beneficiaries that transition into full time employment in the construction sector. When looking at all regions, it can be observed that men are significantly more likely to transition into the construction sector than women. In 2017, 9.5% of beneficiaries that were men joined the construction industry, while for women, only 1% joined construction. This is a consistent trend over time and across all regions. Increasing the proportion of women beneficiaries that become construction workers could provide a boost for workforce supply, especially as there are more women beneficiaries than men.

In 2017, for beneficiaries that are men, the Marlborough region demonstrated the highest proportion of beneficiaries that transition into the construction sector, followed by Bay of Plenty and Wellington. Whereas for women, the Canterbury region showed the highest uptake of beneficiaries into the construction sector, followed by Auckland and Bay of Plenty.

When looking at the proportion of beneficiaries that become construction workers over time, there is a decrease in 2008, which will be due to the global financial crisis. This crisis caused there to be a sudden decrease in demand for construction workers. Canterbury saw a spike in 2011 due to the rebuilding efforts after the earthquakes.

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Access to the data used in this study was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Data and Statistics Act 2022. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Stats NZ or individual data suppliers.

These results are not official statistics. They have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) which is carefully managed by Stats NZ. For more information about the IDI please visit

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data's ability to support Inland Revenue's core operational requirements.

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