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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.

Man working in factory on machine

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Skills in demand

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..

Currently, the lists cover skills in these areas:

Skills shortages by  industry sector and region:
  Long Term shortages Regional shortages Construction and Infrastructure shortages
Agriculture and forestry    
Health and social services  
ICT and electronics  
Recreation, hospitality & tourism  

A full list of current skill shortages in New Zealand can be found by using our handy tool:

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Other skills and avenues

Even if your skills aren’t on the shortage lists, you may still be able to get a visa.

If you can get a firm job offer and your employer can show they can’t find a New Zealander for the vacancy, then you may be able to apply for a work visa.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a resident visa if you meet the criteria for our Skilled Migrant Category.

Great job opportunities in New Zealand
Woman and man working on yacht project

Job sites to explore

Specialist sites


Sites designed to connect offshore workers with NZ employers:

These sites have lots of jobs, but employers using them won’t necessarily be thinking about hiring from overseas:

Getting started

The first step usually is finding a job. Check out where your skills will fit best and which employers are looking for your expertise.

Tips on how to find work

What jobs, where

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).

Labour market snapshot


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