Job-seeking graduates should consider working in New Zealand, with its in-demand occupations, low cost of living and high quality of life

Fortunately, New Zealand's job market has been steadily on the rise since the global financial crisis, and this looks set to continue. A number of job sectors are expanding and the New Zealand government are looking to attract workers from other countries to fill the skills gap, meaning good job prospects for international workers.

The country is regularly voted as one of the most popular places for expats to relocate to, and it's not hard to see why. New Zealand enjoys a temperate climate, uncrowded communities and a low crime rate. New Zealanders are known for striking a healthy work-life balance and there are plenty of things to see and do during your spare time.

Jobs in New Zealand

If you have the right skills and experience, it's always a good time to look for work in New Zealand. The success of your job hunt depends on the sector you're looking to work in. There are currently plenty of job openings in industries such as engineering, IT and medicine - however, there are also opportunities to contribute more generalist skills.

Major industries in the country include:

  • agriculture
  • construction
  • financial services
  • fishing
  • logs and wood articles
  • manufacturing
  • real estate services
  • tourism.

Recent employment growth has been seen in manufacturing, food production, machinery and equipment manufacturing and textile manufacturing. Particularly strong growth is focused in the Auckland and Canterbury areas.

Certain skills are in short supply and to help combat this both long-term and immediate skill shortages are listed on Immigration New Zealand.

Because of competition for jobs, it's not uncommon for international job hunters to accept more junior positions in order to gain experience of working in New Zealand.

Don't limit your options by ruling out contract or part-time work - this can sometimes lead to permanent employment.

Search for jobs in New Zealand at:

How to get a job in New Zealand

To obtain a visa you'll need to look for and secure a job before moving to the country.

Applications are typically made online with a CV and cover letter. CVs in New Zealand differ in the sense that they rarely list all past jobs, instead they explain the skills you have and provide examples of how you've used them.

If your application passes the first stage you may be offered a telephone interview. Face-to-face interviews tend to be informal and may be led by up to four people. Make sure you've thoroughly researched the position and the company before your interview.

A number of jobs aren't formally advertised, so making connections, networking and applying speculatively can prove useful.

Summer jobs

Seasonal or temporary workers have a number of options open to them.

Every year thousands of workers are needed to help harvest the country's fruit crops. Thanks to the budding tourist trade you can also find employment in bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels, campsites and holiday parks.

During the winter season you may also be able to find a variety of opportunities at ski resorts.

If you have some childcare experience you could find work as an au pair.

If you want to give your CV a boost there are a large number of voluntary agencies throughout New Zealand. You can search for opportunities by type and location at Volunteering New Zealand.

Teaching jobs

There is tough competition for positions in New Zealand, with the majority of teachers coming from countries such as England, Canada and America.

Gaining a position is dependent on your previous teaching experience and qualifications. You will usually require a Bachelors degree, plus a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate.

Upon arrival in New Zealand, teachers must register with the New Zealand Teachers Council in order for your qualifications to be assessed by the country's Qualifications Authority.

Popular places in New Zealand for those who want to teach include:

  • Auckland
  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown
  • Wellington.

To start searching for a teaching job in New Zealand, visit Teach New Zealand.

Internships

Work placements and internships have a number of advantages. They obviously help build up your skills and experience, but they also provide you with relevant contacts, who could then help you get a permanent job.

Good places to start searching for work experience in the country include:

Speaking to companies directly is also a proven way of finding non-advertised opportunities.

New Zealand visas

There are several visa options available if you want to live and work in New Zealand, either permanently or temporarily, and these are explained in more depth at Immigration New Zealand.

If you are aged between 18 and 30 and want to work on a temporary basis, you can apply for the working holiday visa. The visa lasts between 12 and 23 months. To be eligible the primary purpose of your trip must be a holiday, with work a secondary intention.

More permanent options include the:

  • Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) for those who have the skills, qualifications and experience to meet a New Zealand employer's need.
  • Work to Residence Category for those who are qualified in an in-demand occupation such as those on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or if you have a job offer from an accredited employer.

When considering applicants, Immigration New Zealand uses a points system. You get points for age, experience, employability and qualifications.

If you're not from the UK, contact the New Zealand embassy in your country of residence for more information on visas and work permits.

Language requirements

New Zealand's three official languages are English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.

Most business is done in English, and most organisations require competency in spoken and written English.

How to explain your qualifications to employers

Employers usually understand UK qualifications as the New Zealand education system is based on England's framework, but you will need to clarify that this is the case before submitting your application.

Trade certificates, diplomas, Bachelor degrees and postgraduate qualifications are all acknowledged.

What it's like to work in New Zealand

Average working hours in New Zealand are typically between 37 and 40 hours a week across five days.

The minimum wage is $15.25 per hour.

Holiday entitlement is generous by international standards, which is good to know when you have a new country to explore. Workers are entitled to at least four weeks of annual leave and New Zealand has 11 public holidays. If you work on a public holiday your employer must pay you extra.

Income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) is how New Zealand fund services for the benefit of all residents, and your salary in New Zealand is subject to income tax, whether you are considered a resident or are simply in the country temporarily.

Personal income tax is calculated as below:

  • 33% from $70,000
  • 30%: $48,001 to $70,000
  • 17.5%: $14,001 to $48,000
  • 10.5%: $0 to $14,000.

For more information on taxes visit New Zealand Now.

The standard of living in New Zealand is considered to be high, while the cost of living is relatively low compared to prices in other countries including Australia and the UK.

Find out more