New Zealand under the Employment Contracts Act 1991: Career attitudes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has established that full-time trade union officials often perceive little in the way of career scope for themselves. This orthodoxy holds that because the careers of officials are very much a product of their own unions—the majority of officials tend to have come from the shopfloor—any opportunities for career development are likely to come only from within the current union. This paper examines the extent to which full-time union officials in New Zealand hold this rather pessimistic view about the range of career options open to them. The findings suggest that while most surveyed officials were relatively committed to their unions they did not, by and large, feel restricted to opportunities occurring within their current unions. They saw, and were prepared to consider, a wide range of different career avenues. It is argued that the findings, to some extent, reflect recent developments in New Zealand's industrial relations environment. Some of the direct and indirect consequences of the Employment Contracts Act 1991 affected the way that many officials viewed their careers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
JournalLabour and Industry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Employment and Workplace Relations
  • union officers
  • careers and career theory
  • New Zealand


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