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Employment and income

This chapter describes labour force participation among disabled Māori, along with their levels of personal income and the adequacy of their household income, and how these compare with non-disabled Māori.

About employment, income, and well-being

Employment and income are fundamental to people’s material well-being and overall quality of life. Participation in the labour market allows people the opportunity to contribute productively and to develop and utilise their skills and abilities. It also provides the opportunity to earn sufficient income to live independently, enjoy a good standard of living, and pursue their goals (OECD, 2011, p58). Providing disabled people with opportunities in employment and economic development is one of the objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (Minister for Disability Issues, 2001, p17).

Labour force status

In the Māori population, as in the total New Zealand population, disabled people are less likely than non-disabled people to be in the labour force, while those who are in the labour force have higher rates of unemployment.

A number of factors contribute to these disparities, including the limitations and barriers some disabled people face in finding employment, and the older age profile of the disabled population. Lower levels of educational attainment among disabled people is also a factor (see Chapter 6: Education).

See Disability in the labour market: Findings from the 2013 Disability Survey for more information about disabled people in the labour market.

In the Māori population in 2013, 53 percent of disabled adults were in the labour force compared with 76 percent of non-disabled adults. Lower labour force participation was partly due to the older age profile of the disabled population, but even among those aged under 65, participation was much lower for disabled than for non-disabled Māori.

Of those in the labour force, disabled Māori were much more likely than non-disabled Māori to be unemployed (17 percent compared with 11 percent).

The combination of lower labour force participation and higher unemployment meant that the proportion of working age people who were employed was much lower for disabled Māori (44 percent) than non-disabled Māori (68 percent).

Table 1

Labour force rates for Māori adults, by disability status, 2013

Labour force rates Disabled Non-disabled
 Employment rate  44%  68%
 Unemployment rate  17%  11%
 Labour force participation rate  53%  76%
 Source: Statistics New Zealand    

 

Of those who were employed, 74 percent of disabled Māori worked full-time (30 hours or more per week), compared with 79 percent of non-disabled Māori. Within the disabled Māori population, women were twice as likely as men to work part-time (35 percent compared with 18 percent).

Personal income

The patterns of labour force participation described above result in lower incomes among disabled Māori – many of whom may be reliant on New Zealand Superannuation, government benefits, or income from part-time employment. In 2013, 68 percent of disabled Māori adults had incomes of $30,000 or less, while just 14 percent had incomes over $50,000. As Figure 3 shows, disabled Māori were more likely than non-disabled Māori to have incomes of $30,000 or less, and less likely to be in the middle or higher income brackets.

Figure 3

Income adequacy

Low income can have a major effect on people’s well-being if the income is not sufficient to meet their needs. The 2013 Disability Survey asked people how well their household income met their everyday needs for accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities. Twenty-five percent of disabled Māori adults said they did not have enough money for everyday things, compared with just 8 percent of those who were not disabled. Another 42 percent of those who were disabled said they had just enough money for everyday things, compared with 32 percent of those who were non-disabled.

Figure 4

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