Then And Now: The Job Market in New Zealand Over 50 Years
Attitude towards getting a job
The 60’s job market was overflowing with New Zealand agriculture and confidence. Any man knew he could get straight out of school and obtain a decently paying job that could sustain him and his family, despite the booming post war population. Most men worked in the agriculture industry, with 90 percent of New Zealand’s exports coming from locally nurtured crops and animals.
Mostly, the money made from the high quality exports was more than the money lost from imports, leading to a largely stable economy.
Whilst the men worked the fields, woman mostly worked as housewives, teachers, or accountants. However, despite the stable import to export ratio, what seemed like New Zealand’s largest strength, started becoming one of its weaknesses.
At the time, the American economy was the greatest in the world due to a spike in non agricultural exports which were easily manufactured at a cheap, easy and efficient way, which supplied many jobs to the American People. The economy in New Zealand was not booming, due to its failing in industrial manufacturing, but was stable due to its valuable exports of agriculture to (mainly) the United Kingdom.
Loyalty to Industry (family business and apprenticeship)
Due to New Zealand’s agriculturally based economy, many preferred to stick to their main family business or profession to make a living, unlike other countries such as Britain or America where the trend of family business had been largely lost long ago in place of a more modern education system.
This system worked perfectly for Kiwi families, since their largely agricultural lifestyles did prefer to have an ongoing line of workers to tend to crops or animals.
If one did not follow the family business, they would still likely not go to university like most of the youth in their neighbouring countries. Instead, they would become apprentice to someone well established in the trade they wished to go into, often someone such as a mechanic or construction worker, and learn the skills of the trade from their mentor.
Family life in the 1960s was much the same as it had been in the previous decades. The man still went out to tend to the properties, whilst the wife would stay in and care for the children. There was a slight shift to this however. Some woman were now working as well as their husbands, mostly during their children’s school hours. Whilst STEM subjects were still far away prospect for most women, they were now taking up many jobs in the teaching and accounting industries.
October 19th 1987, a date later known as ‘Black Monday’, the New Zealand stock market took the biggest fall history had ever known. The countries dollar went down my 15 cents that day alone. However, when the global companies revived and started to heal themselves, the New Zealand market kept falling. By December, national shares were down by 49 percent since the crash,
They showed no signs of stopping, at February next year having fallen to 55 percent since the crash. There is no doubt that jobs all around the world were hit hard from the crash, but none as hard as those in the New Zealand economy.
Change in Family Life
A dramatic shift in general family life occurred in the late 70s and 80s. Gender roles were now becoming blurred, with a poll done in 1983, 21 percent of men reported they would rather stay home and care for the children if they got the chance. Woman were making up half of all college graduates in 1985, and had been taking up much higher positions in business.
New New Zealand
In the early 200s, New Zealand was finally recovering from Black Tuesday and the Asian Financial crisis. From 2000 to 2005, the economy was expanding by an average of 3.5 percent a year. However, this progress was halted during the 2008 financial crisis, which once again put the brakes on the New Zealand economy.
A new Career life
During the 2000’s, one can notice that whilst gender roles are still prevalent, it was no longer unusual to see a woman going to pursue her work full time, whilst still having a family and husband. However, this did create new problems for the everyday family, as there was no automatically assigned person to stay home and look after the kids. This has led to an increased amount of children in ‘day care’, or ‘after/before school care’, due to many parents having decided that this was the best option.
A new workplace
Work places in the 21st century are very evidently different from those in lets say the 80s or even 90s. This is due to a whole new range of people working in areas they were not traditionally found in. For example, walk into a law firm 20 years ago and one would of seen an abundance of middle aged, white males. Now however, it is no where near unusual to find hispanics, asians and woman, or at least as unusual as it is to see each group in the general public.
The times of asking around for a job, and handing in your resume have changed. As of the development of the internet, one can now easily find a suitable career online, and even get their qualifications online.
However, the prospect has also opened up many possibilities that could have the greatest positive, or worst negative effect on the future of our world.
Automation could either make work more efficient and easy, or it could cause some sort of financial crisis in which workers have nowhere to go after machines have out done them in their own profession.
We have come to a time where it would seem we have reached the peak of a society, but how much further can we go? What new jobs will emerge on your horizon in 5,10,20 years?
How much further will we go?
Only time will tell.
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