Given New Zealand’s current labour market situation, how can we make progress? First, we need to be able to track progress. What gets counted often gets done.

New Zealand has never had a method of objectively benchmarking EEO. This set of Equality at Work indicators has been developed by the Commission working with experts and using overseas examples. It provides time series data and aims for an objective progress report on how New Zealand is doing that can be used by government, policy agencies, industry sectors, employers, trade unions, researchers and civil society.

The Human Rights Commission will use these indicators to monitor progress for both national and international reporting purposes. Making progress visible will encourage greater efforts to achieve equality.

The 20 indicators have been selected to reflect all aspects of the employment cycle used by the Human Rights Commission in promoting the right to work. Measures are described for each indicator, alongside the grounds on which equality will be determined such as age, gender, ethnicity and disability which reflect human rights discrimination. Other sources of inequality in employment such as regional variation are also included. Finally, the availability of data for each indicator is detailed. This has been included to assist monitoring, and to highlight data gaps.

In most cases data is publically available from government agencies or is available for purchase. However, data on equality in employment for disabled people is scant and up-to-date information is not available. The most comprehensive and reliable source of employment data for disabled people is the Disability Survey conducted as a supplement after the New Zealand Census conducted every five years. The 2011 Census has been postponed as a result of the Christchurch earthquake and will now be held in 2013. Data on sexual orientation and employment is not available and submissions to Statistics New Zealand to include sexual orientation questions in the 2011 Census were not successful.

The indicators are developed from similar equality indicators from other jurisdictions, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Framework for Documenting Equality Rights 2010.