Beneficiaries engagement with construction
Key findings

When developing strategies to increase construction worker supply, it is important to study all the sources of new workers. This study investigated beneficiaries as a source of construction workers. The number of beneficiaries over time depends on the economy. This was demonstrated by the sharp increase in beneficiaries in 2008 due to the global financial crisis, and the peak in 2011 in Canterbury after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The proportion of beneficiaries that transition into construction is consistent over time. Women have significantly lower rates in transitioning from a beneficiary to a construction worker than men. Increasing the portion of women beneficiates that become construction workers, especially considering there is a higher absolute number of women beneficiaries, could be a beneficial source of construction workers.


As the demand for construction workers change over time, it is useful to study the potential sources for new workers. This report focuses on beneficiaries as a potential pool of construction workers. Particularly, it investigates where there has been historic success in attracting beneficiaries into the construction sector. This will provide insight into where there are opportunities for increasing the number of beneficiaries that join the construction workforce.

We define beneficiaries as those receiving more than $10,000 (cpi adjusted for years earlier than 2018) in payments, excluding student allowances and pensions.

Number of beneficiaries

The chart below breaks down the demographics of beneficiaries. RC stands for regional council, and TLA stands for Territory Local Authority. When tracking the number of beneficiaries over time, a spike can be observed after the global financial crisis in 2008. This sharp increase is particularly visible in the Auckland region, with a decreasing impact in regions with less total beneficiaries. Since 2010 there has been a rapid declination in beneficiaries in the Auckland region with every other region stabilising.

Looking at 2018, the Auckland region has the highest number of beneficiaries, of over double that of the Waikato, which is the region with the second highest. Waikato is followed by the Canterbury region and then Wellington. When breaking it down by city, Auckland has over three times the number of beneficiaries as Christchurch, which is in second place.

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Transition into construction

The chart below demonstrates the percentage of beneficiaries that transition into full time employment in the construction sector. When looking at all regions, it can be observed that men are significantly more likely to transition into the construction sector than women. In 2017, 9.5% of beneficiaries that were men joined the construction industry, while for women, only 1% joined construction. This is a consistent trend over time and across all regions. Increasing the proportion of women beneficiaries that become construction workers could provide a boost for workforce supply, especially as there are more women beneficiaries than men.

In 2017, for beneficiaries that are men, the Marlborough region demonstrated the highest proportion of beneficiaries that transition into the construction sector, followed by Bay of Plenty and Wellington. Whereas for women, the Canterbury region showed the highest uptake of beneficiaries into the construction sector, followed by Auckland and Bay of Plenty.

When looking at the proportion of beneficiaries that become construction workers over time, there is a decrease in 2008, which will be due to the global financial crisis. This crisis caused there to be a sudden decrease in demand for construction workers. Canterbury saw a spike in 2011 due to the rebuilding efforts after the earthquakes.

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Access to the anonymised data used in this study was provided by Statistics New Zealand in accordance with security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975, and secrecy provisions of the Tax Administration Act 1994. The findings are not Official Statistics. The results in this paper are the work of the authors, not Statistics NZ, and have been confidentialised to protect individuals, households, businesses, and other organisations from identification. Read our full disclaimer here.

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