Programmes must be implemented "sooner rather than later" to support Māori and Pasifika workers set to be hit hard by automation, according to one industry expert.
A recent report by Infometrics, titled 'From Education to Employment', estimates 31 percent of New Zealand's jobs are likely to become automated over the next 20 years, with the figure rising to 44-percent for low-skilled jobs.
That concerns Informetrics Chief Forecaster Gareth Kiernan, who believes Māori and Pasifika workers will be the worst affected.
"We have got a disproportionate number of Māori and Pasifika people working in lower skilled jobs," Mr Kiernan told RadioLIVE on Wednesday.
Mr Kiernan says ethnic employment inequality could worsen over time if not addressed now.
"There are issues around making sure workers have access to training and opportunities to up skill themselves," said Mr Kiernan.
"We need to have programmes in place. To be honest you want to be doing it sooner rather than later because otherwise we will just be trying to catch-up."
Rural regions should expect to see the most change according to Mr Kiernan, who suspects there will be a lot more to come for high-risk occupations like forestry.
Read the whole report here.