What is this data?

Counting the food and fibre workforce presents challenges. We had to decide where the food and fibre sectors start and end.

Our goal was to establish an easily applied framework for collecting, organising and analysing information. It must be consistent, reliable and authoritative, and recognise the diverse businesses involved.

The food and fibre sectors include producing raw materials from natural resources, like farming and fishing, but also supporting activities like processing, distributing and selling products made from raw materials.

We identified sub-groups of the workforce by sector, like dairy or seafood, and by position in the value chain, for example, production or processing.

What data do we include?

This data includes:

  • counts of people working in the sectors on average and over a year
  • variation by region
  • employment status (whether someone is an employer or employee)
  • visa and residency status
  • estimated roles and skills
  • demographic composition (age, gender & ethnicity)
  • age distributions (percentiles, medians & averages)

Why use ANZSIC06 classifications?

Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC06) divides the economy into business activities. In administrative records, ANZSIC06 classes link businesses to industries. We can use these classes to identify food and fibre sector employees and self-employed people within Stats NZ's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). It's a consistent and transparent way to analyse the sectors.

Activities included and excluded

We compared each activity with our definition of the food and fibre sectors, asking which are important to the success of the sectors and how much influence the sector needs over the activity to ensure success.

These examples show how we decided which business types to include and exclude.

  • We include 100 percent of the veterinary services workforce in the food and fibre sectors, even though domestic pet owners also use vets. The food and fibre and veterinary services workforces depend on one another, and the food and fibre sectors take an active interest in the veterinary profession.
  • We include some people in boat building and repair services. This industry is crucial to the seafood sector, but also services other boat users. The seafood sector must be actively involved in the boat building and repair industry to ensure its needs are met.
  • We don't include legal services even though they're important to the food and fibre sectors, because the sector can rely on the legal profession to ensure it has capacity.

Interpreting workforce counts

  • We counted, for each month, everyone employed and receiving income from an employer that month and those self-employed – including businesses owners – during that year. To create annual numbers, we averaged the monthly numbers.
  • We count the same person once in each category they appear, even if they hold several jobs. For example, if someone worked for two businesses, one in 'Kiwifruit growing' and the other in 'Apple and pear growing,' we'd count them once in each business activity, but only once in horticulture's sector-level workforce count, as both businesses are in the horticulture sector.
  • Many sectors have peak labour demand times, like harvesting fruit, raising calves or processing hoki. Monthly numbers show these peaks.
  • Past year numbers can change as: (1) the IDI extracts are on an "as at" point in time basis, so data refreshes will re-read in any backdated data updates submitted by data providers; and (2) every data refresh involves re-extracting all the past years which are then subjected to Stats NZ's random rounding rules.

Where is the data from?

These numbers are not official statistics. They mostly come from Stats NZ's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

Workforce counts

Workforce counts come from research using the Stats NZ IDI. We link businesses with industries using ANZSIC06 classes then analyse and count numbers of employees and self-employed people in the food and fibre sectors.

Roles and skills

We used publicly available sources and in-depth interviews with industry experts for roles and skills information. We've shared different amounts of information for each sector because each had different amounts of information available. Sources for models of workforce demand also vary because sector experts advised us of differences.

Featured numbers

Featured numbers on 'workforce today' sector pages include annual export earnings from MPI's annual 'Situation and outlook for primary industries' (SOPI) reports.