The EEO Trust research report Specifically Pacific: Engaging Young Pacific Workers has found that bosses who recognise family and cultural values, foster positive relationships between managers and staff, create Pacific role-models, and offer opportunities for career development help build engagement amongst young Pacific people. Engaged employees are more committed and connected to their work.
The EEO Trust commissioned the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs research group to undertake the study to better understand what drives young Pacific employees in the workplace, their career expectations and aspirations, and what helps and hinders their participation and success.
EEO Trust Chief Executive Dr Philippa Reed says the research arose from employer interest in making more of the considerable talents among young Pacific people.
"Specifically Pacific is something of a first," she says. "Until this research was carried out, there was very little information about Pacific young people and their engagement at work. We have listened carefully and have formulated some ideas on what employers can do to to make the most of this talent."
Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Chief Executive Dr Colin Tukuitonga says the fast-growing Pacific population means an increasing Pacific labour force.
"Predictions are that in 2026, one in eight 15 to 39-year-olds will be of Pacific descent. While some of them may work for Pacific employers, others will not. This research will help ensure that those employers are equipped to make the most of their Pacific staff, help young people coming into the workforce and enhance productivity."
The project involved face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 20 young employees of Pacific heritage and six managers of young Pacific staff. All those interviewed worked for EEO Trust member organisations in finance, retail, manufacturing, health, transport and media.
The report's recommendations include: