In Box: Specifically Pacific

Looking for ways to help young Pacific employees make the most of their talents? There are plenty of ideas in the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust’s latest research report, Specifically Pacific: Engaging Young Pacific Workers.
The EEO Trust commissioned the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs research group to undertake the study. The aim: 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.
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.
In short, bosses who recognised family and cultural values, fostered positive relationships between managers and staff, created Pacific role-models, and offered opportunities for career development helped build young Pacific workers’ engagement and commitment.
EEO Trust chief executive Dr Philippa Reed says the research was something of first. “Until it was carried out, there was very little information about Pacific young people and their engagement at work.”
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.”
The report suggests that organisations:
•Draw on Pacific values by getting to know young Pacific workers’ families and involving them in resolving work issues.
•Recognise the potential of young Pacific workers and actively motivate them through approaches such as clearly-defined roles and expectations, on-the-job training, opportunities to continue education, two-way communication, and opportunities to grow mutual trust and respect.
•Develop career pathways that match young Pacific workers’ aspirations and competencies.
•Provide opportunities for senior Pacific managers to mentor young people. M

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