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Outcomes of new entrants in food and fibre sectors
Key findings

When looking at targets for talent attraction programmes, it is also important to consider the productivity and commitment of various talent groups that join the food and fibre workforce. This study showed that career changers and returning Kiwi’s have the highest retention rates within the sector they entered. In terms of income, returning kiwis and immigrants have shown to have the highest annual income after 10 years, followed by career changers and tertiary graduates. Returning kiwis and career changers are also shown to have the highest rates of self-employment. Overall, career changers and returning kiwis demonstrate the highest commitment to the food and fibre sector given these variables explored.

Introduction

Understanding the performance of different talent groups can provide insight into what type of talent groups to attract into the food and fibre sector. While having high initial numbers of a talent group, it is also important to consider the number of years they will stay in the food and fibre sectors and their productivity.

We broke down where food and fibre sectors source their talent here. This report extends this by tracking the outcomes of the talent sources: career changers, immigrants, secondary school students, tertiary students, beneficiaries, and returning kiwis. The outcomes explored are retention, income and self-employment.

Retention rates

The new entrants starting work between 2006 and 2009 were tracked by how long they remained in their sector over a five-year period. In this study, immigrants are defined as all workers on work visas. This includes working-holiday visas. Retention rates of immigrants are, therefore, lower than reality due to the presence of workers only working for the holidays.

The retention rates fall quickly in the first year after working in the sector and the rates all diverge after 5 years to between 17% and 23%, apart from beneficiaries with low retention rates. Career changers are shown to have the highest retention rates initially, but in the 5 year period returning kiwis are most likely to still be working in their initial food and fibre sector.

Methodology

New entrants are taken from years 2006 - 2009 and retention is calculated as the number of years working in the sector until 2017.

New entrants are categorised into the following groups based on any education enrolments in the year leading up to starting work, or work experience in the past five years. They are categorised in a ranked hierarchy of:

  1. Secondary school leaver (enrolled within one year of starting work)
  2. Tertiary graduate (enrolled within one year of starting work)
  3. Career changer (at least one year of work experience within any other sector)
  4. Immigrant (first arrived in New Zealand within one year)
  5. Beneficiary (history of beneficiary income)
  6. Returning Kiwi (return date to New Zealand within one year)
  7. Others and unknowns

Such that a new entrant recently enrolled in tertiary education with more than one year of work experience is classified as a tertiary graduate as opposed to a career changer.

Income

All talent group’s income grows with the number of years in their respective food and fibre sector. Secondary school leavers and tertiary graduates start off on lower incomes than career changers, returning kiwis and immigrants. This suggests that there could be a relationship between age and income. However, the gap between the groups show signs of closing after 10 years of working in the sector, apart from beneficiaries.

Methodology

Average yearly income is calculated from new entrants in 2007 - 2011 for each year after entering the sector. Income is inflation adjusted using 2020.

New entrants are categorised into the following groups based on any education enrolments in the year leading up to starting work, or work experience in the past five years. They are categorised in a ranked hierarchy of:

  1. Secondary school leaver (enrolled within one year of starting work)
  2. Tertiary graduate (enrolled within one year of starting work)
  3. Career changer (at least one year of work experience within any other sector)
  4. Immigrant (first arrived in New Zealand within one year)
  5. Beneficiary (history of beneficiary income)
  6. Returning Kiwi (return date to New Zealand within one year)
  7. Others and unknowns

Such that a new entrant recently enrolled in tertiary education with more than one year of work experience is classified as a tertiary graduate as opposed to a career changer.

Self-employment

All talent groups show progression into self-employment with the number of years in the food and fibre sectors. Career changers initially have the highest rate of self-employment, however, returning kiwis have the quickest progression into self-employment and overtake career changers after 2 years working in the sector. It takes a few years for secondary school leavers to start progressing into self-employment but shows similar progression rates as other sources after four years.

Methodology

Self-employment is tracked of workers retain in the sector. Note that progression rates into self-employment may not be truly representative as self-employed workers have higher retention rates and the increases may be due to wage and salary workers leaving the sector rather than an increase in self-employed workers.

New entrants are defined as persons who first work at least three months above a minimum wage threshold of 120 hours (30 hours across 4 weeks). Of these new entrants we define their primary activity in the year leading up to starting work order of:

  1. Secondary school enrollments
  2. Tertiary enrollments
  3. Work in other sectors (career changers)
  4. Visa status (immigrants)
  5. Overseas spells (returning kiwis)
  6. Beneficiaries
  7. Other

Such that a person with a tertiary enrollment and who is working in another sector in the year leading up to starting work in carpentry will be recorded once only as a tertiary student.

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Correlated factors to the retention of new entrants in the food and fibre sector

In this report we test the correlation of various characteristics with retention rates

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Where do food and fibre industries source their talent?

The food and fibre sectors are facing a growing shortage of workers. The solution may not lie with secondary school graduates.

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Demographics of new entrants

Investigate the demographic breakdown of new talent into select New Zealand sectors

New entrants Source of new entrants workforce supply Income Income outcomes Self-employment