Job Industries

Job market & key industries

Is it a good time to be looking for jobs in New Zealand? Definitely - especially if you have the right skills.

New Zealand was less affected by the global financial crisis than many other countries and employment has been gathering steam, particularly in the last three years. However, while employment conditions are expected to remain strong, the Government forecasts the growth rate will decline for the next three years to 2018. More detail is in the Job Market Overview below. 

There are many job openings for specialists in industries such as medicine, engineering and IT. But there are also opportunities to contribute more generalist skills.

Man working in factory on machine

Register your interest

Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest 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.

Skills in demand

Some skills are in chronically short supply, and Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages and a separate list of shortages of the skills needed to help rebuild the Canterbury region after the earthquakes there in 2010 and 2011.

If you are offered a job in New Zealand which appears on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work and residence 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.

Currently, the lists cover skills in these areas:

table caption
  Long Term shortages Immediate shortages Canterbury shortages
Agriculture and forestry  
Health and social services  
ICT and electronics  
Oil and gas    
Recreation, hospitality & tourism  

Job market overview

In the year to 30 June 2015, employment rose 3%. The unemployment rate was 5.9%.

Prices for our commodities (particularly dairy products) have slipped recently and business confidence is falling back. However the influences that have underpinned recent strong growth still apply - migration generating more demand, post-earthquake construction activity in Canterbury and growth in domestic incomes creating jobs. So, on balance, the government expects employment to remain strong over the next three years but to grow but at a slowing rate.

The job sectors driving employment growth are changing. The Canterbury construction industry is playing a less prominent role. Instead, recent employment growth has been in manufacturing, particularly in Christchurch and Auckland, and mostly in food production, machinery and equipment manufacturing, and textile manufacturing.

Nearly half (44%) of annual employment growth to June 2015 was in Auckland, followed by Bay of Plenty (8%) and Waikato (4%).

Skilled job vacancies advertised on three major internet job boards - SEEK, TradeMe jobs, and the Education Gazette increased by nearly 4% over the year to June 2015.

For the latest overview, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Market Update.