Insights : Evaluating Diversity in NZ's Water Sector.

A recent survey undertaken by Water New Zealand and WSP Opus water experts, Troy Brockbank and Liam Foster has uncovered some interesting discrepancies between the water sector and wider industry concerning diversity in the workplace. 

Last month, we reached out to ten of NZ's largest water consultancies to contribute towards our survey; the high-level data that was shared represents over 1,000 water experts and professionals. 

While the water sector represents approximately 2% of the wider design, engineering, science and transport (DEST) workforce, our findings show that it performs better for diversity in the workplace.

Looking at today's workforce, our findings show: 

  • 15 per cent of our principals, leaders and managers are female. 
  • 24 per cent of the represented engineers are female. 
  • 47 per cent of the represented scientists are female.
  • per cent of the represented operators are female. 
  • 47 per cent of the represented are under 35 and;
  • 60 per cent of the represented are female and under 35 - proving water to be the most gender and age-diverse sector in comparison to the wider industry. 

    Graph download full poster.

Further data-points would have allowed us to gather a better representation of the water sector. However: 

  • Only 3 out of the 10 water consultancies currently collect data on staff ethnicity, with others planning to do so in the future. 
  • None of the contributing consultancies collects information regarding workforce disabilities and sexuality. 




What about the future? 

Our insights have revealed that by 2038:

  • 34% of the NZ workforce will be from the millennial generation. 
  • Technology will drive the need for new skill sets into the industry. 
  • We will need an additional 14,000 engineers across all sectors nationally.
  • 36% of the Local Government workforce will be over the age of 50;
  • and 50% of all Treatment Operators will be over the age of 50. 


We are extremely grateful for the support for this poster from the following organisations who responded so positively to our survey. Showing the importance of this topic to the industry, their organisations and why they shared the key information so willingly.

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