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Survey of Working Life

The Survey of Working Life was run as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) in the March 2008 quarter. All employed HLFS respondents were asked to take part in this survey.


The objective of the survey is to provide reliable statistical data to monitor changes in the employment conditions, working arrangements and job quality of employed people in New Zealand, and to better understand the reasons for and implications of these employment patterns. It is intended the survey be repeated every three years.

Information from the Survey of Working Life will provide an improved understanding of people's employment conditions and work arrangements in New Zealand, including :

  • how working-time patterns affect people’s ability to balance their work and non-work roles
  • the extent and nature of casual and seasonal employment
  • the links between employment relationship, job security and other employment conditions such as earnings and workplace health and safety
  • the aspects of work that have the greatest influence on job satisfaction.

This information will be used to inform policy development work in areas such as employment relations, workplace health and safety, and labour force participation and skill development.

What types of questions were asked in the survey?

The questions asked about the work people do for pay or profit, and any work for a family business or farm, including:

  • whether jobs are permanent or temporary
  • length of time with employer or in self-employment
  • working times and hours
  • preferences regarding hours of work
  • difficulties caused by working at non-standard times
  • work at home
  • job flexibility
  • union membership
  • annual leave entitlement
  • participation in employer-funded study and training
  • work-related health and safety
  • job satisfaction.

The survey did not collect information on voluntary work or unpaid work around the house.

Survey information

Results from the survey were released on 9 December 2008. The main topics highlighted in this release are: employment relationships, job tenure, working times and hours, work at home, job flexibility, work-related health and safety, employer-funded study and training, annual leave entitlement, type of employment agreement, union membership, and satisfaction with main job and with work-life balance.

A detailed report will be published by Statistics New Zealand and the Department of Labour in 2009.

Hot off the Press

For more information, contact:
Work, Knowledge and Skills business unit
Wellington 04 931 4600
Fax 04 931 4033

Related Links

Ministry of Social Development - Work and Income
Department of Labour

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