Pandemic increased disparities for Pacific workers - report

Source: 1News

A new report shows the Covid-19 pandemic and pandemic response has worsened existing disparities in the workforce for Pasifika.

The New Zealand Work Research Institute report which was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said Pasifika women, workers aged under 30, and those living in Auckland were particularly affected.

One of the report's authors, Gail Pacheco - an economics professor at AUT - told Breakfast one of the key issues was "wage scarring".

"It's the effect on your wages if you've been out of work for a while, because it has scarring effects long-term for you," she said.

READ MORE: Most of the Pacific pay gap is unexplained - study

"So when we look at, for example, Pacific men, we find that they earn 22% less than New Zealand European men when they re-enter the labour market following a period of non-employment".

"And this is already taking into account age differences and education differences between these two groups."

Pacheco said this discrepancy created flow-on effects.

READ MORE: Pasifika learners 'disproportionately' affected by Covid-19

The Ministry of Social Development warned in May 2020 that vulnerable groups would be hit hardest by lockdowns, but Pacheco said the focus must now be on long-term policy change, not only a reaction to the "shock" of the pandemic.

"There's entrenched disparities here in the workforce, they were there long before Covid hit and unless we do something they'll be there long after Covid."