COVID-19 and the accompanying restriction of activity touched all our communities and businesses in some way. What has been the impact on young people?

Auckland Unlimited commissioned the COVID-19 and Auckland's Youth Workforce Research Report to explore the impact of COVID-19 on young people in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland - including employment, education and training.

Conducted in mid-2021, the research aims to identify the opportunities and challenges for young people entering the workforce in the first year of a COVID-19 impacted world, and the areas of potential focus to mitigate these impacts.  

The research was conducted by Martin Jenkins for Auckland Unlimited. 

The research sought to answer: 

  • What have been the main implications of the impact of COVID-19 on Auckland’s youth workforce?  

  • How did New Zealand’s education system fare in supporting young people through COVID-19? 

  • Are young people staying in education longer, or are young people leaving education and entering the workforce for less pay?  

  • Have the labour market opportunities for young people changed because of COVID-19?

Key findings 

The overall impact of COVID-19 on Auckland’s young people  

  • COVID-19 may have contributed to greater disengagement among youth 

  • Young people in Auckland are nationally over-represented among new unemployment beneficiaries 

  • COVID-19 had a negative effect on overall wellbeing 

The impact on education and training  

  • Learners generally felt well supported, but many reported facing difficulties 

  • Auckland high school attendance seems to have been disproportionately affected  

  • Tertiary course completions appear to have been impacted, especially for lower-level courses and for Māori learners  

  • Tertiary enrolments are up in 2021 – with an emphasis on courses with an employment connection 

The impact on youth employment 

  • The number of jobs available rebounded strongly, surpassing pre-COVID-19 figures 

  • COVID-19 may have increased the casualisation of employment for young workers 

  • Sectors in which youth are over-represented have been particularly hard hit 

  • Young workers’ hours and income were disproportionately affected by lockdowns 

  • Youth were more likely to have experienced decreases in income or their hourly rate, compared to those aged 25–34  

  • Overall, young people were more likely to report their employment status had been affected 

What will the research be used for?  

Insights from the COVID-19 and Auckland’s Youth Workforce Research Report will be used to support Auckland Unlimited workforce development programmes and initiatives for young people.   

If you have any questions about this research, please contact the Skills and Workforce team.