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Boomers bolster bus drivers’ loyalty – Media release

6 December 2019

On average, bus drivers are the oldest workers of any key industry, and they are also among the most loyal employees, Stats NZ said today.

The average age of bus service workers was 54 years in the year ended March 2018. This is the highest age of any key industry group, the annual release of linked employer-employee data (LEED) shows. The bus service industry covers both urban and rural bus services and, while it includes workers such as office staff, most workers in this industry are bus drivers.

Nationally, the number of people in the bus service industry rose from 8,980 in 2008 to 10,400 in 2018. The 2018 Census shows there are 8,874 bus drivers nationwide.

“The average age of bus service workers is eight years older than the age for the next highest industry and 24 years older than millennials working in hospitality,” LEED manager Alan Bentley said.

“The baby-boomers working on the buses also tend to stay in the job for longer than they would in most other industries,” Mr Bentley said. “Almost nine in ten bus drivers stay in the bus service industry for at least one year. In terms of worker loyalty, boomer bus drivers are OK.”

One-year retention rate

LEED data showed 89.2 percent of bus service workers chose to stay in the same industry from the year ended March 2018.  

This rate is higher than the one-year retention rate for most of the other key industries, except people working in the health care and social assistance (92.0 percent) and education and training industries (90.2 percent).

Ten-year retention rate

Six in ten bus service workers were still working in this industry after 10 years. This rate was calculated based on the number of people working in both 2008 and 2018. This may include people not working at times during this period.

In the Wellington region, the number of bus service workers dropped slightly from 1,140 in 2008 to 1,130 in 2018.

“Greater Wellington Regional Council reported the city faced bus driver shortages over the 2018 year,” Mr Bentley said.

About the data

The annual LEED release uses tax data for all workers, so it is the most comprehensive employment record available. As it covers everyone, it allows lower-level analysis, for example, employment at the territorial authority level. However, results are about 18 months old by the time they are compiled and published.

The quarterly labour market statistics provide a more-timely indicator of the state of employment – the employment levels for these statistics are based on a sample survey of 15,000 households and 30,000 individuals.

Labour market statistics: September 2019 quarter and Employment indicator series introduced provide the latest employment information.

Linked employer-employee data: March 2018 year – NZ.Stat tables has more data.

MIL OSI