There are some excellent opportunities for construction workers right now - and a lifestyle you just won’t find anywhere else.
There are two big drivers of construction industry growth in New Zealand at the moment – continuing population growth in Auckland and the after-effects of the earthquakes in Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region.
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.
Thousands of Canterbury homes and commercial buildings were damaged and destroyed in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. That has been generating a significant amount of building and construction work - some 10,000 homes are expected to be built by 2016. Work on the commercial sector rebuild could extend for many more years beyond that.
In Auckland, the government and City Council have committed to building 39,000 new homes in reaction to shortages which have pushed median house prices in the city to rise much faster than the national average.
Strong growth in construction jobs
About a quarter of the total growth in employment growth over the next three years to March 2018 is forecast to occur in construction and related activities. Combined, these sectors are expected to show the strongest growth in the labour market.
Construction activities are likely to continue to grow right across New Zealand, with Auckland making most of the pace. This growth will be driven primarily by residential construction in Auckland region and, in the early part of the period, the Canterbury rebuild.
Construction growth in Canterbury is expected to peak in 2016 but remain at a relatively high level throughout the forecast period.
Roles in demand include quantity surveyors, design roles, foremen and site managers to oversee the delivery of construction and civil projects.
Register your interest
Take the first step to a new life by registering 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.It’s free and there’s no obligation.
With construction industry workers of all kinds in demand there are plenty of opportunities. Check out current openings on the skills shortages lists.
Remember – if your job is on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, the work visa application process is likely to be faster. And you may even be able to apply for a resident visa.
Construction jobs on the lists in mid-2015 include:
- building inspector
- building surveyor
- construction project manager
- project builder
- project manager
- quantity surveyor
- survey technician
- urban planner.
Even if your particular skill isn’t on the list, it may be well worth while getting in touch.
Construction worker's guide
Whether you're looking for work or already have a job lined up, our Working in the New Zealand Construction Industry guide is definitely worth a read.
It covers how our construction sites are different than what you might be used to, health and safety requirements, visas, Kiwi slang and much more.
New Zealand’s building and construction sector accounted for 6.7% of GDP in the year to 30 June 2015 (up from 4.5% in 2013). It generates employment for over 221,000 people, 9.4% of the workforce.
Many builders are self-employed, and specialist sub-contractors usually work in a small to medium sized business.
The most populated areas of New Zealand are where the majority of construction work is found. These include Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty (Tauranga-Rotorua) and Napier-Hastings.
Outside Auckland and Christchurch, regions where stronger than average growth is expected are Wellington and Bay of Plenty.
The total value of all building work in the year ending 30 June 2015 was NZ$9.7 billion.
If you’re in the construction industry, you’ll know how highly cyclical it is everywhere. New Zealand is no exception and our industry was badly hit by the global downturn. In fact, only a few years ago (2013) the number of workers employed in construction was 0.5% lower than in 2009.
However, and as discussed above, the rebuild of Christchurch, strong economic fundamentals and a catch-up in new home building in Auckland has fired the industry up. By 30 June 2015, construction employment had surged by 12% in 18 months. You’ll be arriving as an upturn is underway.
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, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.
At the same time you should register with the relevant professional or trades body. For contact details, visit professional registration.
Finally, if you're considering a move to Christchurch you should register with the Canterbury Employment and Skills Hub. It has been setup to connect employers with local or offshore staff.