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Job market overview

Our economy is growing…

The Government predicts the economy will add over 100,000 jobs (4.4% growth) in the two years to 2016.



New Zealand’s employment market has been gathering steam steadily since the global financial crisis - a trend that’s set to continue.

So, is it a good time to be looking for jobs in New Zealand? Definitely - especially if you have the right skills.

Job vacancies on the two main internet boards rose a solid 15.4% through 2013, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Vacancies are now at levels not seen since mid 2008 and employers are reporting difficulties finding skilled labour.

Business confidence is at a 20-year high (NZIER), while unemployment was down to 6.2% by September 2013, well below the OECD overall average then of 7.9%. (Our unemployment has been below the OECD average for over a decade.)

The economy will add over 100,000 jobs (4.4% growth) in the two years to 2016, according to the Government.

Particularly strong jobs growth is expected in the Auckland and Canterbury regions and in the construction and utilities industries

Highly skilled jobs (managers and professionals across a number of areas) will be in consistently high demand, accounting for about 50% of overall employment growth.

For the latest overview, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Market Update.

Skills in demand

There are job opportunities across the board. But some specific skills are urgently needed. High priority skills are posted in the Skill Shortage Lists. If you have those skills you could find it a lot easier getting a work or resident visa.

We also have a Canterbury Skill Shortage List. Rebuilding after the earthquakes in Christchurch and the surrounding area of Canterbury has also created an urgent need for particular skills. If your skill is on that list you may qualify for a temporary visa or, if it’s also one of the Long Term Skill Shortages, a visa that can lead to residence.

As at February 2014, the lists cover skills in these areas:

  Long term shortages Immediate shortages Canterbury shortages
Agriculture and forestry  
Health and social services  
ICT and electronics    
Oil and gas    
Recreation, hospitality & tourism  

To check the updated lists, visit the skill shortage lists.

Other skills and avenues

If your skills aren’t on the shortage lists or you’d really like to go for residency, it may still be possible to get a visa.

For instance, you may be able to apply for residency as a Skilled Migrant. You may also be able to apply for a work visa if you’re offered a job by an employer who can’t find a local worker for the vacancy.

See our section on visas to work in New Zealand.

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Register your interest

Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.