Construction Jobs

Here’s your chance to combine excellent opportunities for your skills in and around construction with a lifestyle you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Imagine being able to work and grow your skills in a busy and varied construction scene – then in half an hour or less, be relaxing on a beach, hiking through beautiful native bush, pounding down a mountain bike track or just chilling with friends in your back garden over a fine New Zealand craft beer or wine.

That’s what you can look forward to when you bring your skills to New Zealand.

Construction jobs (02:25)

Construction Jobs

Rolf Sigaard:

We operate in the infrastructure industry so we look after the critical infrastructure assets of our customers in the areas of welding, water, telecommunications and facilities management.

People say to us that they think we sort of are one big family and we like the term. We put a lot of emphasis on safety, with the aim of working out safely everyday and obviously get our people safely home every night.

Public business in New Zealand are quite different from the way the businesses operate in the US and UK and other major overseas markets, in that generally businesses here are a lot smaller, so that does require us to be a lot more nimble and do more with less.

Also business here is very much based on relationships, New Zealand businesses do have a tradition for being quite innovative, often again it is about being resourceful.

At the moment the skills we are struggling to find in the domestic market are very strong civil project managers, to work say on the Christchurch project but also other projects we are doing. Also there is a severe shortage of telecommunications people like from designers draughting people, to field technicians and managers.

We support our new immigrants in other ways, I think one of the most significant ones I can think of is how well they’ve been embraced by our people, the examples of people being picked up from the airport late at night, brought to the new home, people stocking the fridge, donating furniture, taking people on picnics, we have BBQs at the depot, I think that’s quite an awesome support that our people provide and hopefully helps our new people, to settle down a bit quicker and feel part of the local community.

I think people come to New Zealand for number of reasons, generally people come here for quality of life, but also for career development, the standard of living is a treat for a lot of our people, and also the safe environment.

For me personally I’ve always offered the opportunity to embrace a new lifestyle, career development, and move the family out in environment I thought was really good for kids, and its been a outstanding experience, you know how we’ve been received, how the local community been a part of how they operate and just the whole quality of life its just been tremendous so, a very positive experience.


for the first time … moderate sustained growth is forecast right through to 2023.

An industry set for growth

Construction New Zealand is set for consistent growth until at least 2023 - replacing the pattern of boom and bust that has typified the industry here and around the world. 

That's according to the Government's National Construction Pipeline report which comments that “for the first time … moderate sustained growth is forecast right through to 2023. The construction sector can have confidence in the demand for future building and construction work and can therefore invest effectively to scale up production.”

New Zealand’s government forecasts steady jobs growth across the economy right through to 2026 - and construction/utilities is picked to be the second strongest-performing sector.

Growth nationwide, across the industry

Until recently, much of the jobs growth in New Zealand construction was led by the rebuild of Canterbury after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. That work has peaked and now Auckland, facing significant housing shortages, is providing the greatest number of new jobs. There are also opportunities in many other regions notably Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Wellington.

Along with a strong economy, population growth is having a major influence and new home building is expected to reach record highs by 2023.

Non-residential work, particularly commercial and education premises is growing steadily while the indicators for infrastructure construction (particularly transport, water and subdivision projects) are also strong. 

Strong outlook for construction jobs

Around 6,000 new jobs a year will be created in construction in the years to 2026 according to the government’s medium to long term employment outlook. Many of those jobs will have to be filled by people like you, from overseas.

Growth is expected in all three sub-sectors of construction - residential, non-residential and infrastructure.

All regions (except Canterbury) are expected to see consistent jobs growth, but particularly Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Wellington.

Roles in particular demand will include project managers, quantity surveyors, plumbers, electricians and civil engineering professionals. Project builders, carpenters and joiners will be needed too, along with skills across a wide range of occupations.

Medium-term employment prospects | MBIE

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Construction skills needed

It’s a good time to be exploring the possibilities of working in construction here, In fact, many construction occupations are on the Construction and Infrastructure skills shortage list.

This is one of several ‘Essential Skills in Demand’ (ESID) lists issued by the Government and updated regularly. If a job is on any of these lists, it means the Government accepts that there aren’t enough New Zealanders qualified for the role so employers need to recruit from overseas. Assuming you have the right qualifications and experience, that will make getting a visa easier.

Construction and trades jobs on the lists in mid 2019 include:

  • Bricklayer
  • Building inspector /surveyor
  • Carpenter/joiner
  • Construction project manager
  • Drainlayer
  • Electrician
  • Fibrous/solid plasterer
  • Floor finisher
  • Glazier
  • Mechanic - AC, Refrigeration or Electric Line
  • Plumber
  • Project builder / manager
  • Stonemason
  • Surveyor / survey technician
  • Tilers (roof, wall and floor)

Jobs in allied fields such as engineering are also on the lists.

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

If your job isn’t on a shortage list don’t be disappointed -  you may still be able to get a visa.

If you can get a firm job offer and your employer can demonstrate 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.

Construction worker's guide

Whether you are looking for work or already have a job lined up, our guide about working in the New Zealand construction industry is definitely worth a read.

It covers how our construction sites are different from what you might be used to, health and safety requirements, visas, Kiwi slang and much more.

Working in construction in New Zealand

Fact file

New Zealand’s total construction value is just under $37b, around 6% of GDP,  and is expected to reach $42b in 2020.

New Zealand’s total construction value is just under $37b, around 6% of GDP,  and is expected to reach $42b in 2020.

Construction provides lots of jobs - employing around 250,000 directly and responsible for another 200,000 jobs in ‘construction-related’ occupations.

Most construction jobs are in the most populated areas of New Zealand - Auckland, Waikato (Hamilton), Bay of Plenty (Tauranga-Rotorua), Wellington, Christchurch and Napier-Hastings.

Construction in all regions (except Canterbury) is expected to grow consistently to 2023. Auckland by 26%, Waikato/Bay of Plenty by 22% and Wellington by 25%. The ‘Rest of New Zealand’ is expected to grow by 10% while opportunities in Canterbury will decline as the rebuild winds down, levelling out in 2020.

Residential building is the largest subsector, accounting for 59% of total construction value in 2017, followed by non-residential building (22%) and Infrastructure (19%).

Residential dwelling consents are expected to exceed historic highs, reaching 43,000 by 2023.

Construction jobs New Zealand


Visa options

There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for.

Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas let you stay indefinitely and access more state-funded public services.

Visas to work in New Zealand

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.

Depending on your occupation, you may be required to register with the relevant professional body in order to get a job and visa. In any case, gaining professional registration in New Zealand may make getting a visa easier.

Occupational registration | Immigration New Zealand

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Page last updated: 08/12/2020

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