YEA Data Points

Do driver’s licenses help young people get work?

Statistics show, that without a licence people can become reliant on the welfare system, miss out on employment opportunities and risk ending up in the legal system due to licence breaches as they have not progressed through to their Full licence.

Forty percent of people on their Learners licence don’t currently progress onto their Restricted or Full licence. This is a problem because 70% of jobs require at least a Restricted licence, even for entry level jobs that don’t involve driving. Many employers use a licence as a way of assessing reliability and flexibility to get to work and an indication of aptitude and attitude. Licensed staff can drive work vehicles and operate machinery at less risk to their employer so immediately become the better candidate over and above unlicensed job seekers.

Not obtaining a licence or only partially completing the GDLS can reduce the number of job opportunities a young person has in a number interrelated ways. It can limit their ability to travel to interviews. Secondly it limits them to jobs that fit in to public transport maps and schedules which make travelling to shift work particularly difficult without the ability to travel independently.

The 2016 Auckland Co-Design Lab Case for Change study found that Employers in construction, transport and infrastructure have projected a shortfall of 6,000 low or semi-skilled employees to meet demand in Auckland alone in the next five years. The 2020 and 2021 Covid environment has further exasperated this situation with many of the staff that previously filled these roles unavailable due to New Zealand’s closed borders. A Class 1 driver’s licence is a prerequisite for most of these jobs, but presently few employers saw value in supporting potential or new staff to gain one. Employers spoken to saw licensing as a long-term process without immediate return for the business, and feared investing in staff who could then transfer to a competitor.

This post was kindly contributed by Wendy Robertson from Driving Change Network, a diverse group of more than 200 Stakeholders representing the community, industry, Iwi/Māori and philanthropy sectors who support driver education, training and licensing.