Source of new entrants, yearly

Over time, there has been a gradual increase in the proportionate size of immigrants sourced as new entrants. This is more evident within the dairy farming sector. We also note that Ministry of Education records are not complete for the year 2016 and 2017, explaining the decrease in secondary school leavers and tertiary gradutes in 2017.

By switching to counts (% ⇄ #) we can see how economic conditions reflect on the number of new entrants entering each year. Across all sectors the effect of the global financial crisis saw a decrease in the number of new entrants between 2008 and 2009. The carpentry sector showed one of the greatest declines in new entrants as a result of the crisis, however thereafter had a gradual but steady return to growth. On the other hand, the dairy farming sector was less affected by the crisis in terms of new entrant intake, likely because Fonterra increased dividend payouts to bolster low milk prices in 2008. However, the 2014 drop in payout can be seen to be reflected in the number of new entrants into dairy farming in 2015.

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A new entrant is classified as an individual who first starts working (earning income in IRD records) within a given sector (defined through employer ANZSIC 2006 codes). We take new entrants in the sectors we follow between the years of 2007 and 2017, and categorise them into source groups using the following hierarchy:

  1. Secondary 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.


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 https://www.stats.govt.nz/integrated-data/.

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.


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.

Career changers New entrants Source of new talent Source of new entrants