OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Adapting to the changing labour market in New Zealand

Technological change is increasing the productivity of highly skilled workers but creating more challenging labour-market conditions for their low-skilled counterparts. These pressures are likely to grow, especially in light of progress being made in Artificial Intelligence. The NZ labour force is upskilling to meet these challenges, but more progress will be needed to keep ahead of the race with technology. Young New Zealanders will need to continue their education to higher levels than in the past and acquire skills that are more highly valued in the labour market. To maintain valuable skills, workers of all ages will need to engage more in lifelong learning. Some will need to retrain when their occupation becomes obsolete. Getting the most out of skills will also depend on allocating skills to their most productive uses. Reducing New Zealand’s high rates of qualification and skills mismatches would boost both wages and productivity. With the possibility of more workers being displaced than in the past, greater efforts may need to be considered to help them get back into jobs.

This Working Paper relates to the 2017 OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-new-zealand.htm).


Keywords: qualification and skills mismatches, labour mobility, skill-biased technical change, displaced workers, upskilling, lifelong learning
JEL: J31: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials; I25: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Economic Development; J62: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion; J65: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings; J24: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
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