A quarter of workers have expressed fears they may lose their job in the next 12 months, according to a question asked by StatsNZ in its latest Household Labour Force Survey.

The survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 per cent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business within the next 12 months.

At a national level this represented 185,000 workers.

A further 18 per cent (representing 468,000 workers) felt there was a medium chance of losing their job.


Most people surveyed said there was little or no chance of losing their job or business (71 per cent or 1,859,000).

Four per cent (105,000) stated they did not know what their job security was going to be over the following year.

The household labour force survey (HLFS) June 2020 quarter was collected over a three-month period from April to June and asked employed people about their perceived job security over the next 12 months.

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During the collection period, New Zealand dropped from Covid-19 alert level 4 in April to alert level 1 by June.

"People who felt the chance of losing their job or business was high or almost certain were considered to have low job security," said labour market statistics manager Andrew Neal.

"As you might expect, people were more anxious and uncertain about their jobs under the higher alert levels than in level 1."

Self-employed people, who did not have staff or employees of their own, felt more insecure about losing their business than employees felt about losing their job.

Ten per cent of self-employed people without employees reported low job security, compared with 6 per cent of employees.


There were also significant differences in job security between permanent and temporary employees.

"Temporary workers felt most at risk of losing their job over the following year, with one in five feeling it was almost certain or highly likely they would lose their short-term job before it was due to end," Neal said.

"This compared with only one in 20 permanent employees feeling pretty certain they would lose their job within the next year."

Workers who had just started in their jobs felt twice as likely they were probably going to lose their jobs, than those who had worked for five years or more in the same job.

There was also considerable variation in job security by industry, as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected some industries more than others.

More than one in 10 of those working in transport, postal, and warehousing stated they had low job security.


This industry group includes air, road freight and taxi, and other road transport workers.

Nine per cent of those with jobs in retail trade and accommodation and food services industries stated they had low job security.

About 6000 people working in travel agent services reported low job security.

Travel agent jobs are categorised within the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry group, in which one in 11 workers expected to lose their job over the coming year.

People working in community and personal service occupations recorded low job security (10 per cent).

This group included travel consultants, flight attendants, baristas, waiters, teacher aides, and personal care assistants.


Low job security was also reported for the labourer and sales workers occupation groups, where 8 per cent of workers in both groups stated they had a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business within the next year.

There were no comparable figures for previous years as this was a new question due to Covid-19, StatsNZ said.

The job security question would continue to be collected within the HLFS for the foreseeable future.