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Job market & key industries
New Zealand has been encouraging people from overseas to come and work here for a number of years. Our growing economy continues creating more jobs generally, plus we have on-going shortages of skills in particular areas.
The job market in New Zealand will be strong in the next few years, the result of steady economic growth.
The government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) predicts average annual GDP growth of about 2.7 per cent and 2.5 per cent over 2018-23 and 2023-28 respectively. Household spending, residential investment, a resumption of tourism along with strong growth in exports will underpin this GDP performance.
Growth at these rates means New Zealand will need nearly 40,000 new workers a year.
With an aging population meaning more people leaving the workforce, it is expected many of those new jobs will have to be filled by people coming to New Zealand from overseas. Perhaps - people like you.
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The majority of new jobs will be in highly skilled occupations. However, there will be opportunities for workers with skills of many sorts, particularly in the fastest growing employment sectors of Accommodation and Food services, Business services, Construction and Retail trade.
Some specialist skills are especially sought after. These feature on official Skill Shortages lists which are updated regularly. If your job is on one of these skills shortages lists, it’s good news for you. That’s because it means the Government accepts employers need to recruit from overseas because there aren’t enough New Zealanders qualified for the role..
George Manjooran: What I liked about New Zealand before moving was like the work/life balance and the IT industry is still in the growth phase, so I thought maybe New Zealand is the right place for me to pursue my career.
Bob Stimson: I was looking for some new opportunities. I was looking for a change from the position that I was in. There was a very big need for structural engineers in New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquakes.
Connor Coady: The wind industry here in New Zealand is still relatively young compared with Europe and it's very exciting to be part of an industry that's growing.
Simon Shaw: We came over six months before we permanently emigrated and I went back with probably four or five job offers.
Lindsay Crummet: One thing that really drew me to the film industry in Wellington was that it seemed so accessible, especially in comparison to Los Angeles. It just seemed so easy that I was able to set up a meeting and meet Richard Taylor. It progressed to where I was finally able to get a job.
Willem Landman: There's lots of opportunities for doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals anywhere in New Zealand. A very large proportion of our healthcare workforce is foreign-trained.
Peter Mathewson: We've currently got a worldwide recruitment campaign on the go for structural and geo-technical engineers, and we're marketing across Europe, Ireland, through the UK, Canada, and USA.
Scott Campbell: There's still a real shortage of trained, experienced geo-special professionals. You'll see there's a lot more jobs on offer than there are CVs available. The industry is still growing, and we're seeing the GIS area growing especially quickly.
Tony Stone: The skill gap that we find here at GNS in terms of recruitment is predominately experienced PhD scientists. Five to seven years’ experience, so overseas recruits are a core part of our need.
Adrian Matthews: In terms of career opportunities, my wife and I have both been really, really pleased with the number of opportunities that exist and that will exist in the future.
Simon Shaw: I think if you're the sort of person that's willing to give things a go, get stuck in, it shouldn't be too hard to find a job.
Almost half of the 40,000 new jobs in New Zealand each year will be in either Accommodation and Food services, Business services, Construction or Retail trade.
Transport and logistics and non-farm manufacturing will also grow, but are smaller sectors with fewer jobs to start with.
Employment growth will be strongest for highly-skilled occupations, including managers and professionals,
There will still be opportunities for less skilled workers, although not as many, with the fastest growing occupations in this category being drivers, construction and mining labourers and delivery drivers.
Jobs in New Zealand are dispersed quite widely around the country. The three biggest jobs centres are, in order, Auckland, Canterbury (including Christchurch) and Wellington. Job growth in Canterbury has slowed lately with the continued wind-down of the re-build following the 2011 earthquakes there.
However there are almost as many jobs in the regions, including the Waikato (based around the city of Hamilton), the Bay of Plenty (Tauranga), Otago (Dunedin and Queenstown), and around Nelson. The fastest growing region for jobs recently has been Manawatu-Wanganui (Palmerston North).