Engineering jobs

Bring your skills to New Zealand and enjoy unique professional opportunities along with a lifestyle you just won’t find anywhere else.

Engineers needed

Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.

If you are offered a job which appears on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the Government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills. But if your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and resident visa options. 

Engineering jobs (02:20)

Engineering

Peter Mathewson:

Our business is an infrastructure business, we are involved with all aspects of infrastructure, development and maintenance.

So that could be buildings, roads, bridges, waste treatment plants, reticulation systems, what ever it takes I guess to support life, more or less.

In New Zealand we have about 1650 staff, we are the largest engineering consultant in New Zealand.

Infrastructure is a very important part to New Zealand economy. The Government in recession, to stimulate the economy it needed to stimulate infrastructure development. The engineering and construction marketplace generally has done reasonably well.

New Zealanders are just generally innovative, and inventive. We find that we can make a dollar probably last a little bit longer and go a bit further in New Zealand than people overseas just because we have to.

We’ve currently got a worldwide recruitment campaign on the go for structural and technical engineers and we’re marketing in across Europe, Ireland, through the UK, through Europe, Canada and USA.

So engineering is very transferable, we have a real diverse mix of staff within New Zealand, we 32 have different nationalities. Its neat that we have people with different engineering experiences from around the world its great it adds value. The different cultures add value as well too and make it an interesting mix of people to work with.

We have an interesting culture in our business; we have a very family oriented business. New Zealand businesses have slightly less formal structures to them, than we find in other parts of the world.

One of the fundamental differences that we see when people do come to New Zealand is, they come for lifestyle, so they come for the clean green image, they come for the quality of life, the access to beaches and to forests and it’s a different way of life, far more relaxed way of life I think.

New Zealand has got a nice friendly culture anyhow, we are just a welcoming sort of group of people, it’s just the way the nation is I guess. It’s an easy place to move around, the quality of life is pretty good, the standard of living is excellent.

Most people within New Zealand if they have to travel more than about 15 minutes think that’s a hardship. I think that’s what some people see when they do come to New Zealand – particularly from the UK where they might travel up to 2 hours to get to the office, that just doesn’t happen within New Zealand so you have more time.

End

You’ll find lots of engineering jobs on the lists. Skills sought as at mid 2015 include:

  • chemical engineer (also known as Process Engineers here)
  • engineers: civil, construction, electrical, electronics, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, instrument and electrical, materials, mechanical, mining, petroleum, production, structural and transport specialities
  • draughtspersons: civil, electrical and mechanical
  • technicians: civil, electrical and electronic.

Skill shortage skill checker | Immigration New Zealand

Infrastructure projects for civil engineers

Government investment in infrastructure is creating great job opportunities for people working in various aspects of the engineering industry. Among other spending, the government has committed to a long-term National Infrastructure Plan covering transport, telecommunications, energy and water.

Over the next ten years, approximately $110 billion is forecast to be spent on infrastructure under this Plan including a $13.9 billion land transport programme between 2015 and 2018.

Over the past seven years, the government has:

  • Added over $46 billion of property, plant and equipment to its balance sheet. 
  • Spent $1.8 billion on local infrastructure.
  • Spent $2.2 billion on government assets for the Christchurch rebuild.
  • Spent over $1.7 billion in a roll out of ultra-fast broadband.
  • Spent $400 million for a rural broadband initiative.

Other drivers include new government policy focusing on environmental sustainability, and local government legislation emphasising higher standards in environmental practice and public health in engineering.

Building Infrastructure | New Zealand Government  (PDF 1730KB)

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Outlook for engineers

Help Rebuild Christchurch

The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 in Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region have created extra work in the engineering industry. Some 10,000 homes are expected to be built in Christchurch over the next four years, with the commercial sector rebuild expected to take as many as 15 years before work is complete.

Civil and Structural engineers

There is a real need in Christchurch for Structural and Civil engineers to assist with the rebuild. Structural engineers are required to check the safety of existing buildings, while civil engineers of all specialisations will be needed to help with various aspects of the rebuilding.

Chemical and Process engineers

Though the number of chemical engineers has remained steady since 2008, employers find it hard to find skilled workers, because demand for chemical engineers is strong worldwide.

People who specialise in petroleum engineering are particularly in demand, as significant further growth in the oil exploration, mining and processing industry (especially in Taranaki, on the North Island’s west coast) is expected, both within the industry and throughout its supply chain.

Electrical engineers

According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of electrical engineers rose steadily between 2006 and 2010 – from 2,345 to 3,023. However, there are still too few electrical engineers to fill all vacancies.

Two factors are driving demand for electrical engineers. One is increased Government spending on electricity infrastructure. In the 2011 Budget, the Government confirmed it would be spending $3.8 billion on upgrading the national grid until 2015.

Another is the public demand for more sustainable electricity sources. Electricity demand is expected to grow by between 1% and 2% a year in the next 20 years, and power companies are exploring options such as wind power, solar power and wave power to help meet this.

Engineer working in New Zealand

Mining engineers

New Zealand mines coal, gold and iron ore from sand along with small amounts of tungsten and platinum. In the year to 31 March 2015 it contributed NZ$3.654m to GDP, about 1.8%. The number of mining engineers has increased from about 110 to 140 since 2005. 

Currently however the main subsector, coal mining, is undergoing a period of uncertainty. Facing depressed coal prices as a result of economic slowdown in China and cheap oil prices, New Zealand’s largest coal miner (85% of the market) is undergoing a complete sale of its assets across New Zealand. Economic woes will affect coal mining for another 18 months to two years, according to industry analysts.

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, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.

Visas to work

Professional registration

Engineers in New Zealand don’t need to be registered by law, but doing so may greatly help you get a job. In some cases you might need to work in NZ in order to meet the requirements. If this is the case, and you have a suitable job offer, you can apply for a work visa.

Registration | Institute of Professional Engineers

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Page last updated: 29/07/2016

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