By Donal Curtin 04/07/2017

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released the Labour Market Dashboard – a one-stop self-service tool which displays labour market information from many different sources in one place.

According to Manager of Labour Market Trends Nita Zodgekar, one of MBIE’s roles is to advise on New Zealand’s labour market and develop policy solutions to grow wages, keep employment high, and have an economy fit for the 21st century.

It’s a pretty impressive effort at gathering and displaying a variety of labour market data into the one spot. Here’s just one interesting graph as a sampler: it shows the different ways companies recruit (there’s another one showing it by firm size rather than by industry). It’s in the ‘Workplace’ section, below the health and safety graphs.

How job vacancies are filled by industry. Click on graph for greater resolution.

Isn’t it fascinating? Top of the list is ‘Word of mouth’, which, in a small, informal, high-trust economy doesn’t surprise me at all. And, as in so many other areas, the internet has changed everything — TradeMe and Seek are now more commonly used than the traditional print job ads. Plus, there’s a useful self-help lesson here too: ‘Candidate approaching us’ is the fourth most common ways jobs get filled.

Active Labour Market Policies

I’ve wondered for a while whether we’re any good at “active labour market policies” — programmes designed to make the labour market match up people better, usually with a focus on getting unemployed people back into the game. I’m leaning towards the view that we aren’t, and the low prevalence of jobs sourced through Work & Income rather points that way. Not that other potential allies in the fight show up much better: on this showing, there are few school or university offices getting on the blower to employers and saying, “Listen, I’ve got this student who’d be just the right person for you!”

I don’t know who did the donkey work on the software, but it’s pretty slick. I especially liked the automatic rescaling of the Y axis when you replace one X variable with another, which might be small beer to you pro-dataviz types but wowed me. If there’s a way to do it in Excel, I’ve not found it. And yes, whoever the uncredited developer is, I did notice your ‘mbienz.shinyapps’ heading for the site.


MBIE is looking for feedback. I’ve suggested the site could carry the unionisation data that the HLFS is now picking up, and I’ve just also had the thought it would be interesting to see the distribution of people on the minimum wage. You’ll have your own ideas: why not help out this useful source and get in touch, the e-mail address is: .

Just  noticed that this is the second nice thing I’ve written about MBIE this week. We’ll be picking out curtains next!