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Youth rates and youth employment

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, June 29th, 2015 - 43 comments
Categories: discrimination, employment, equality, jobs, national - Tags: , , ,

Remember how National’s youth rates were going to raise levels of youth employment? Turns out not so much. This slide from a talk by CPAG’s Alan Johnson is doing the rounds on Twitter this morning:


The red line is employment for the over 65’s. The blue line is 15 – 19’s. The take home message is at the bottom, “30,000 fewer 15 – 19 year olds in jobs today than in 2007”.

So National’s “brighter future” isn’t working out so well for a new generation. Since youth rates don’t raise rates of youth employment, all they do is penalise younger workers.

43 comments on “Youth rates and youth employment ”

  1. Charles 1

    heh, that graph is mind boggling on many levels. Maybe Youth rates did raise employment levels (and still things went bad), which just goes to show the interesting goings on, e.g. what caused the relatively steady increase of over 65 employees? And look at the rhythm in the blue line: what on earth causes such sudden increases and equally sudden drops of the same or more of young employees*? I can hardly see the increments… is that every six months something catatrophic happens to bleed young people from the workforce? Even when, over a slightly longer period, the overall trend stays steady-ish, they still have wild peaks and troughs.

    PANZ say they are a research and analytics assoc. What do they say about it?

    *seasonal work? 90 day trial Act? casual work?

  2. infused 2

    Labour probably shouldn’t have dicked with youth rates in 2008 then eh?

    This research found that this minimum wage increase accounted for approximately 20–40 percent of the fall in the proportion of 16 and 17 year olds in employment by 2010.

    Overall, this implies that the introduction of the NE minimum led to a loss of 4,500-9,000 jobs for 16 and 17 year olds (employment of 16 and 17 year olds fell from 61,400 to 39,500 between 2007 and 2010).


    I mean it’s everywhere.


    There is a reason that graph goes to 2007 and not 2008.

    Sometimes I really wonder if your heads are attached to said bodies.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      There’s insufficient employment opportunities in this economy, full stop. No political party is willing to spend into the economy sufficient to change this situation.

    • r0b 2.2

      It was perfectly valid for Labour to abolish youth rates in 2008, and some loss of jobs was expected, with the up side that those in work would be fairly paid. At the time – low unemployment – it made sense.

      The crash that followed makes it hard to separate out the impact of that change, crashes always hit the most vulnerable workers hardest.

      National re-introduced youth rates in 2012. They haven’t fixed the problem of youth unemployment even in our so-called “rockstar economy”, which suggests that pay rates are less of a factor than the health of the economy / post crash environment itself. So once again, since youth rates don’t fix the problem of youth employment, all they do is penalise younger workers.

      • infused 2.2.1

        If you read the report, businesses ignored the re-introduced rate.

        And tbh, I blame the education institutes. They are pumping out kids with useless qualifications in NZ.

        • r0b

          If you read the report,

          I wasn’t aware of it, will try and have a look tonight.

          businesses ignored the re-introduced rate.

          Good for them.

          And tbh, I blame the education institutes. They are pumping out kids with useless qualifications in NZ.

          Well that’s a different discussion, and one worth having, but with respect to employment the 15 – 19 years age group haven’t exactly had time to complete many post-school qualifications.

          • infused

            I know, it kind of follows on from this though. They universities specifically, lead students to believe they are going to have jobs that pay very well when they leave. it’s simply not the case.

            My partner did a degree in business/marketing. Said it was the most useless thing she has ever done.

            My brother did economics and was one of the top students. He’s been working for anz as a debt collector for a number of years.

            The amount of lawyers etc that they keep pumping out is silly.

            • Tracey

              One good thing about the Polytechnics is the work placed sections they do, making the conversion rate at the end of their degree to actual employment higher than universities. By doing two placements in a 3 year degree with an employer they have the chance to get a foothold with an employer, to impress with hard work etc and for employers to get to know them.

              Part of the problem too is the change of emphasis of the governments meaning we now have too many Tertiary’s, including private providers, so they are all vying with each other for money (same as our ports). This means courses such as business, law, accounting, which don’t need many resources, can just cram 500 into a lecture theatre and get the money and churn them out.

              Nurses, trades, medical imagists, etc are more equipment and resource intensive, the regulations around placements in the workplace are more stringent than for a business student…

              So, the “money” is in the “useless” courses… for the record I consider the degree your brother in economics as one of the “useless” ones.

              I have noticed amongst the male children of my upper middle class friends and family that they are choosing their courses based on the money and lifestyle they think they can get… hence commerce, law, business degrees.

              • Draco T Bastard

                This means courses such as business, law, accounting, which don’t need many resources, can just cram 500 into a lecture theatre and get the money and churn them out.

                I find this true in many places across the economy. Businesses exist not because they develop our economy or are a challenge but because they’re cheap and easy to set up. This is, IMO, especially true of small businesses. An individual or two can’t develop and build a fabrication plant. To do that you need thousands or even millions of people to support the work over a long time.

                This is why most developed nations have developed only because of government investment in R&D and then building the infrastructure. It’s not, and never has been, solely the private sector that developed a nations economy. The private sectors’ not even the primary of the economy. That to falls to the government.

                I have noticed amongst the male children of my upper middle class friends and family that they are choosing their courses based on the money and lifestyle they think they can get… hence commerce, law, business degrees.

                You mean that they’re following market ideology? What a surprise /sarc

                • Tracey

                  and social conditioning…

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Yep, the overt social engineering that right-wing government have been engaging in since 1984 which doesn’t get mentioned in the MSM or by the RWNJs.

        • Draco T Bastard

          They are pumping out kids with useless qualifications in NZ.

          Is it that or that businesses and government aren’t investing to develop the economy and thus actually use those degrees?

          • Tracey

            see my post immediately above for the suggestion that law/accounting/economics/business are cheaper to deliver from use of an existing building and one lecturer and some assistants…

            cf with nursing, plumbbing, medical imaging

        • Tracey

          Perhaps but where would those kids go for the three years it took them to get what you consider their “useless” qualification?

          This and previous governments use tertiary as holding pens.

      • McFlock 2.2.2

        The report that allegedly calculated the loss in jobs essentially assumed that the youth employment rate would remain constant relative to the adult rate regardless of GFC.

        Which is a mighty bold assumption to make.

        • infused

          I have to admit, I only read the key finds. Seems like an interesting report though.

          • McFlock

            There seems to be a lot of “reports” released in the last few years which either are guilty of similar bold assumptions in their analyses, or the fanfare around their release is at odds with the actual data they report.

            And sometimes it’s an incredibly blatant lie that’s easily disproved with a couple of minutes to actually look at the charts and tables in the report, and then think about what it really means. But so few people do. Which, a cynic might say, is what Key and the “NZ Intiative” rely on.

            • Draco T Bastard


            • Tracey

              spot on… and the journo receiving the press release either doesn’t have time to read the report or is mandated not to bother. Probably the former

    • mpledger 2.3

      Sixteen and seventeen year olds have options – free education at school – so when the economy goes down the tubes they stay at school. It’s only the kids who can’t hack school that leave school but they are also the ones that don’t have the qualifications to get jobs. So what happens is their rate of unemployment goes up.

      Your first link says this –
      “The NE minimum wage appears to have encouraged more 16 and 17 year olds to stay at school or continue their education (this effect is in addition to an increase in studying due to the economic downturn). ”
      page v.

      And that is actually a better outcome.

      • b waghorn 2.3.1

        ” It’s only the kids who can’t hack school that leave school but they are also the ones that don’t have the qualifications to get jobs.”
        Kids don’t fail at our schools its the schools that fail kids.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The single most influential factor in education outcomes is household income. Stop blaming teachers for economic problems.

          • b waghorn

            I wasn’t blaming teachers I was blaming a system that has a one size fits all mentality. It may of changed but I remember it being a place where thinking and questioning was squashed and if you weren’t academic you were valued less .

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Thinking and questioning are the essence of academia. If NZ education has a ‘one size fits all’ mentality, how do you explain teachers’ opposition to Notional Standards?

              • b waghorn

                There against national standards because they don’t want have assessment s applied to themselves aren’t they?
                My original point was more around mpledgers statement that its kids who can’t hack(fail) school ,whereas I’m of the opinion that kids don’t fail its,schools ,parents and “the system” that fails.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Why are you arguing from a position of ignorance?

                  Yes, yes, I know a lot of centre-right propaganda has it that teachers aren’t subject to continual professional assessment; it hardly does you credit that you just swallowed it hook line and sinker, eh.

                  Is that how you form most of your opinions?

                  • Tracey

                    Agree. I know 3 teachers of over 20 years experience who have left in the last 18 months. NONE are near retirement. The level of paperwork required to assess the kids is very very high. People forget that teachers days look like this

                    go to school
                    attend a meeting or be on playground duty
                    morning tea/lunch can include a duty or meeting
                    after school meetings and/or duty

                    then home. then they have to prepare for the next week of classes at some stage, usually late at night or the weekend. The assessments cannot be completed in the holidays because they are due BEFORE the students break, so those have to be done at night and on weekends.

                    The holidays can provide a little respite insofar as they are not having student contact time. BUT these people are being burnt out.

                    Standing in front of 20 to 34 students, many of who don’t want to be there, pitting their wills against yours for 6 hours a day is draining.

                    I wish some parents would consider how annoyed they get with their children after just 1 hour of time spent with them and then multiply it out to 6 hours, five days a week..

                    Giving birth doesn’t make you an expert on teaching (I iwish it did).

                  • b waghorn

                    I asked you a question and instead of answering you turned to you’re usual belligerent self you weren’t a teacher at Tauranga boys collage in the 80s by chance.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nope, I wasn’t. I asked you a question: are you aware that teachers are subject to continual professional assessment, that they are required to improve their teaching practice? That there is a whole collegial structure to support them in this improvement?

                      If you are aware of this, you’re a scumbag liar. If you aren’t you’re ignorant and possibly easily led.

                      Ignorance is a condition we all share. Being easily led, not so much.

                      Over to you.

                  • b waghorn

                    What possible reason would I have to lie to some grumpy shit i dont know? I made a comment about not blaming kids for failing and if as you and Tracy say teachers are so fucken amazing how can kids leave school unable to read I would of thought if the systems where so good they wouldn’t even get to 10 with out major alarm bells ringing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Can we put your false statements down to ignorance then?

                      Now you have learned that teachers are subject to constant critical appraisal, required to set professional development goals, etc., let’s go back to the point.

                      You claimed NZ educators take a one-size-fits-all approach. The facts simply don’t fit your narrative, do they.

                      Why is your narrative such a dog’s breakfast? Have you been believing the things the National Party says or something?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      In that your argument is at a juvenile level? Slow clap. I note the other students’ reaction cited in the article, and that her own father is luke-warm in his support for her opinions.

              • Tracey

                Teachers I know were very enthused and passionate about Mallard’s new curriculum… then Labour got voted out. enter NS.

                Its very frustrating for teachers to see something they believed would work for students replaced by something that research suggested would not serve their students (all of them)

      • Tracey 2.3.2

        it’s only a better outcome if they are

        a. attending school regularly
        b. are completing assessments
        c are participating in learning while there

        We need to find ways inside our schools to cater for these folks outside the regular curriculum

        Fund them into transition programmes…

  3. mpledger 3

    The graph isn’t the whole story though.

    The number of young people is increasing very slowly while the number of over 65s is increasing quite quickly. A better graph would be of rates rather than numbers.

    The argument would still hold but it wouldn’t be as dramatic.

  4. G C Cameron 4

    I would suggest the 65+ group is incentivised to work. A Pensioner can receive a ‘full pension’ AND ALSO receive ‘full income’ from a part/full-time job.

    Youth are discouraged to work because the minimum wage is unliveable. Also I’m told youth beneficiaries loose their entire income if they work 15+ hours on minimum wage. Therefore making it unlikely a reluctant youth would try a foray into paid employment.

    • b waghorn 4.1

      I would suggest 65 plus workers are increasing because some dodgy investment scam went belly up and they lost any chance of a decent retirement or the fact that a pension only provides a basic living standard and people are keen to top it up.

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.2

      Work till you die – welcome back to the 1900’s

  5. NZJester 5

    One of the main reasons the rate is still climbing is because most people in NZ have little money to spend so tend to buy cheaper overseas made good than those made in NZ by our manufactures thanks to National cutting taxes for the rich and increasing taxes on the middle class and lower by increasing GST.
    The rich are meant to have spent that tax cut money by investing in NZ companies to help them grow and employ more people, but instead find it way more profitable to let it sit in the bank earning interest or in long term overseas investments making them more money they mostly never bother spending here. A lot of the time when they do spend a lot of it, they do so on overseas trips and non NZ made luxury goods that they get in sometimes without paying any GST. As a result the tax breaks for the rich are only making the overseas banks and the rich money at the detriment to New Zealand as a whole!

  6. Mark 6

    This is absurd, why on earth would you use over-65s as the comparison and use absolute numbers rather than rates? And why employment rather than unemployment?

    The only reason I can see is to mislead the reader by creating a false impression that youth have been doing worse than the elderly. In fact there’s been a huge increase in the number of elderly people over this time period so of course the number of them in employment increases.

    And youth rates are supposed to reduce unplyment, not raise employment. If some teenagers choose to go into polytechnic rather than straight into work due to lower wages that’s hardly a terrible outcome.

  7. TheBlackKitten 7

    I feel sorry for the youth today, in particular, the ones that are not academic. There is piss poor opportunity for anyone entering the workforce that does not have any experience. Employers are so reluctant to to put any investment, time or training into the young that is shutting out any opportunity for them.
    It amuses me when employers complain that they can’t find anyone suitable for their roles. It seems employers expect all the bells and whistles for low wages but are not prepared to put any investment into it. The young need practical work experience where they gain experience and skills, not some tech or university that will give them theory based only information but no practical skills in a job and high debt.
    It seems that there are two groups that have rorted our youth today. The first been employers who refuse to invest or give any opportunities for the young to gain experience. The second been all of those education institutions that rake in the dollar at the expense of the student who is desperate for opportunity and only gets a theory based degree that offers no opportunities and debt.
    Youth rates do not address this issue, all they do is give employers a chance to hire unskilled people for less money.
    What needs to happen is a reintroduction of the old apprenticeship system and a abolishment of these pointless diplomas in trades that require practical hands on learning rather than theory learning such as hairdressing, floristy, childcare and nursing. The amount off youth that are very talented in some areas but can’t pursue these careers due to over the top pointless academic requirements is a detriment that we should no longer ignore.

    • Mark Craig 7.1

      I have to agree 100% Black Kitten ,the trouble is there are just not enough jobs going to allow everyone that wants to work to do so. Globalisation ,Bah humbug

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