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Govt To Fund Research Into The Future Of Work

Government To Fund Research Into The Future Of Work

A new Workforce 2010 project which will identify the challenges New Zealanders will face in the 21st century labour market is to kick off next year, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey announced the new project when opening the Future Incomes conference, which is looking at projected changes in the New Zealand labour market, in Palmerston North this morning. Funding of $2.09 million over four years was provided in the Budget, beginning in the 2001/02 financial year, for research into future trends in work and their implications for the workplace, the workforce, and employment opportunities. Mr Maharey said work had recently begun with the Department of Labour's Labour Market Policy Group to identify the issues which the Workforce 2010 project will address.

"Dramatic change has occurred in the New Zealand labour market over the past twenty years and all predictions point to this accelerating. Issues include:
 family friendly workplaces;
 shorter working hours (including four day weeks) and job sharing;
 expansion of equal employment opportunities throughout the workforce;
 teleworking;
 new shift arrangements;
 week on week off contracts;
 voluntary shorter working weeks;
 career breaks/sabbaticals;
 time banking; and,
 employee ownership and co-operatives.

"It is vitally important that we gain a clear understanding of issues such as the of ageing our population and the increased use and availability of new technology.

"New Zealand is a latecomer to the investigation of future work issues. Most other industrialised nations have been looking at the challenges posed by the new labour market and demographic changes for some time.

"Officials are currently scoping the Workforce 2010 project for me and are due to report by late October on their proposed 2001 work programme. The challenge will be to use this work to develop effective employment policy which responds to the challenges of modern New Zealand society," Steve Maharey said.


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