Budget 2022 ignores workforce pressures

30 May 2022

Waikato Management School Associate Professor Maree Roche

Pressures on business and workplaces to return to ‘business as usual’ have been overlooked in the Government’s Budget, according to a leading researcher from the University of Waikato.

Waikato Management School Associate Professor Maree Roche says Budget 22 does nothing to support workplace productivity.

“The last two to three years have really challenged and changed attitudes towards the workplace, and have also resulted in a high rate of burnout and fatigue.

“What we could be looking at is the biggest change in the nature and understanding of ‘going to work’ since the industrial revolution of the late 1700’s.”

Dr Roche says the situation has been perpetuated in the Māori workforce where there is more pressure to recruit, develop and retain Māori staff.

“The State Sector Act has put increased pressure on organisations to recruit and retain Māori, but organisations are left to do this with a very limited understanding of the implications of resourcing a Māori workforce – let alone the increased pressure that places on Māori workers.”

Dr Roche has undertaken research in this area and says there is evidence that businesses need better support to respond to the requirements of a more diversified workforce.

“The past few years have also shown us that we are not going to return to BAU for business.

“Staff, managers and customers have struggled during the pandemic. They have coped with adapting and pivoting, as well as working overtime, with new processes, technologies and expectations, and they have done this while placing their own and whānau health in a secondary position.”

Dr Roche says workplace productivity and employee engagement may be at an all-time low.

She is calling on the Government to pay much greater attention to the changed nature of work and put a plan in place to develop skilled workers in Aotearoa and recognise the exhausting role organisations, leaders and employees have played in supporting our economy through the pandemic.

This research aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Good Health and Well-being Decent Work and Economic Growth Reduced Inequalities

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