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Supporting Pasifika People in the Workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

Pasifika people need support with workplace training, and employers play a key role in making this happen. The Pacific population in New Zealand is rapidly growing, and by 2038, will reach around 11% of the total population. This means there are good things that can come from the growing Pasifika population in New Zealand, but it also shows that there are important things to think about when it comes to education, health, and social systems.

Pasifika people in Aotearoa are young, with a median age of 22 years old, and they live mostly in cities like Auckland and Wellington. But many Pasifika people also experience social and economic challenges such as poverty, lack of resources, and low incomes. In fact, around 60% have an individual net economic wealth of less than $16,000.

Although Pasifika families face many challenges, they are working together to make important decisions about income, finances, community responsibilities, housing, health, education, and work. Employers have an important role to play in supporting these families. By understanding the unique perspectives, expectations, and motivations of Pasifika people, employers can develop innovative and responsive strategies that meet the needs of families and communities. This is crucial for creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace for Pasifika people. In addition, It is crucial to understand that social and economic issues can have a big impact on the lives of Pasifika families in Aotearoa, and this can have a knock-on effect on their education and employment opportunities. For example, if a Pasifika family is struggling with poverty, they may not have the resources to invest in education or training opportunities.


Video: Uptempo - The Southern Initiative partners with organizations like Zeducation to upskill the Pacific community in New Zealand and close the pay gap.


To support Pasifika people in the workforce, it's crucial to provide them with ongoing training and development opportunities that match their evolving perspectives on what it means to be 'Pacific' in New Zealand. This is especially important given the complex and fragmented systems and processes they often have to navigate, combined with existing financial and time constraints. Employers can help bridge this gap by offering tailored initiatives, such as cultural awareness training, language support, and mentoring programs, which improve the engagement and retention rates of Pasifika employees. In addition, working with Pasifika families to support early, comprehensive, and continual career planning and advice helps young Pasifika people find viable educational options that lead to employment, further study, or training.

"To support Pasifika people in the workforce, it's crucial to provide them with ongoing training and development opportunities."

Overall, Pasifika people are an essential part of New Zealand's workforce and provide unique opportunities for growth and innovation. However, they also face significant challenges that require employer support. By providing targeted training and development opportunities and supporting early career planning and advice, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace for Pasifika people, with benefits for individuals, families, and communities.


Reference: Pasifika and the Future of Work. (2016, February). Pacific Economic Bulletin, 31(1), 67-80. Retrieved from


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