Pacific and Māori nurse graduates were most successful in the latest mid-year job round and Asian nurse graduates the least, according to a recent report.

The ACE Nursing Intake Summary Report** for the mid-year intake showed that 447 –  just short of 68 per cent of the 659 applicants – received a job offer for a new graduate programme place between July and late October via the ACE job-match process.

When the mid-year pool closed on October 27 there were 190 (28.8%) left in the pool who were still seeking supported new graduate jobs – over a hundred less than the same time last year.

This was the lowest percentage of the mid-year intake still job-hunting into the spring since ACE records began in mid-2013 – and just over a hundred less than the same time last year, when 43 per cent of mid-year applicants were still job-hunting in the spring.

The 51 nurses taken on by mental health and addiction providers for NESP [new entry to specialist practice – mental health and addictions] programmes contributed.  The improved mid-year employment rate was also reflected in the findings of the annual mid-year graduate survey undertaken by NETS (Nurse Education in the Tertiary Sector).

According to the ACE report Pacific nurse graduates were proportionately the most successful in getting a job through ACE with 83.7 per cent of the 43 applicants being employed. The next most successful were Māori graduates with 77.7% of the 94 applicants being matched with a job.

The “other” ethnicity category – which includes New Zealanders of European descent – made up just over half of the applicants – 360 (54.6%) and had a job success rate of 69.2%, which was just above the overall job success rate of 67.8 per cent*.  Kiwi nurse graduates of Asian ethnicity made up 162 (24.2%) of applicants and had a 54.9% per cent job success rate – the lowest of the four ethnic groupings.  (NB to be eligible to apply for a funded NETP [nursing entry to practice] or NESP [new entry to specialist practice – mental health] position through ACE you need to be a New Zealand citizen or hold a permanent/returning resident visa.)

In November 2015 the Health Workforce New Zealand’s (HWNZ) Nursing Governance Taskforce for Nursing set a date of 2028 to meet a goal of significantly increasing the number of Māori nurses so as to better match the proportion of Māori in the population, with the aim of improving access to care and the quality of care for Māori.  ACE statistics for the end of 2015 showed 54 per cent of Māori graduates were known to be employed, compared to 50 per cent of non-Maori and 53 per cent of Pacific applicants.

By mid-2016 the Governance Taskforce had consulted and endorsed ‘levers’ to help meet the goal including supporting all Māori new graduates into employment, building on current initiatives to promote nursing careers, and building Mâori faculty at universities and other providers.

The mid-year intake analysis indicate that the push may be paying off but the director of the Wānanga based kaupapa Māori nursing degree, Ngaira Harker, has expressed disappointment at the intial job offers for its first graduate cohort of 19 nurses who are part of the latest end-of-year ACE intake.  At the end of November nine had jobs (just under half) which was a lower job rate than the 57 per cent of total applicants who had been offered jobs in the same time period, according to early ACE stats for this latest job match round.

Auckland biggest source of jobs

The cost of living in Auckland didn’t seem to put off new graduates seeking work for the three Auckland district health boards.

Auckland DHB had the highest number of applicants putting it as their first preference (118) and had 312 applicants in total expressing a preference for Auckland as their first, second or third preference.  Waitemata DHB was the first, second or third preference of 229 applicants and Counties-Manukau had 200 applicants.

In all there were 260 applicants in the mid-year intake (just under 40 per cent of total applicants) who were graduates from the five nursing schools based in Auckland. The three Auckland DHBs between them took on 199 new graduates (Auckland DHB 87 and the other two 56 each) which was the equivalent of 44.5 per cent of the total jobs on offer nationwide.

The other two largest DHBs, Canterbury and Waikato – also got high interest with 108 graduates putting Waikato as their first preference and 106 putting Canterbury.

Canterbury DHB employed the highest number of new graduates in the country, 91, and Waikato employed 56.


*ACE Nursing mid-year job match round statistics

  • 659 applicants took part in the ACE mid-year job match (461 were first time applicants, 169 second-time applicants and 29 were applying for their third round or more.)
  • 389 jobs were initially offered by employers (338 NETP and 51 NESP)
  • 327 applicants in July were electronically matched and a further 26 manually matched with jobs.
  • 346 accepted the job offers (seven applicants failed state finals or declined job offers)
  • 101 of the remaining 306 unmatched applicants were offered jobs before the ACE national talent pool closed on October 27.
  • 447 (67.8%) of ACE applicants in total were successfully matched with a job.
  • That left 190 (28.8%) of applicants still seeking a NETP or NESP placement as at October 27 and a further 22 (3.4%) of applicants had declined offers, failed state exams or withdrawn from the pool.

**The ACE Nursing Intake Summary Report was prepared by agency TAS (formerly known as DHB Shared Services) which owns ACE Nursing on behalf of the 20 DHBs.  

NB: This article was corrected on December 22 to clarify that the report was released by TAS rather than the Ministry of Health.


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