New Zealand's Labour Market from 1991 - 2001: Evidence of Upskilling?

New Zealand's Labour Market from 1991 - 2001: Evid…
01 Feb 2003

In this paper, I investigate the prospect that there has been a general ‘upskilling’(understood as extensive skill-biased technological change) in the New Zealand workforce. This research, a descriptive study rather than an explanatory one, allows me to tentatively conclude several points. First, there is reason to believe that a general upskilling has occurred. Second, with certain assumptions, it can be shown that real incomes have been growing in the face of increasing supply, indicating strong, increasing relative demand for educated workers. Further, there is more to the determination of incomes than qualifications; to an important extent, the incomes of peers, regardless of qualifications, affect wages. Fourth, women are entering the labour force at a greater rate than men; significantly, this is true at the university end of the qualification spectrum. Finally, there is evidence to suggest a persistent, wide-spread disparity between the incomes of men and women, regardless of qualification, industry, and occupation.

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