Discover the 21 of the most sought-after occupations in New Zealand, where technological advancements and shifting industry demands have created a dynamic job market with lucrative career opportunities. If you’re considering immigrating to New Zealand, this list is essential, as having an in demand job can fast-track your working visa application and make your move much easier.
Traditionally high-demand jobs for immigration in New Zealand were broken up into the Long-Term Skill Shortage List, the Regional Skill Shortage List, and Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List specifically for Canterbury.
In 2022, these were simplified into the Green List which includes occupations in such high demand that Tier 1 roles can go straight to residence or Tier 2 Work to Residence. Great news for those looking to move to New Zealand!
While being on the Green List can get you halfway to your dream of living and working in New Zealand, you still need a visa and, in most cases, a job offer. Luckily, we’re in contact with a range of employers, and offer employment support to help secure your dream life in New Zealand. Start now, by completing our free appraisal.
Without further ado, check out some of the jobs most in demand for New Zealand in different areas with skill shortages.
Registered Nurses in New Zealand have been in high demand due to a shortage of nurses, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses may specialize in aged care, pediatric care, mental health, surgical care, or other areas. The average salary for healthcare workers is around 64,000 NZD per year for a nurse, but experienced senior nurses may earn up to 135,000 NZD. A working visa in New Zealand requires registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand and potentially three years of experience and a Competence Assessment Program.
General Practitioners are also in high demand, with a predicted drop in the number of GPs per 100,000 people in the next decade. The primary role of GPs is in local healthcare centers across New Zealand. Qualified Doctors in this role generally earn between 145,000 NZD and 210,000 NZD, and being registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand may be the only requirement for immigrating as a General Practitioner.
New Zealand needs several thousand Teachers, from preschool to university level. High school teachers with around five years of experience can earn between 58,000 NZD and 71,000 NZD. Polytechnic and University lecturers can make up to 100,000 NZD or up to 200,000NZD as a professor. High School Teachers must be registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa and have a provisional practicing certificate and two years of teaching experience. University Lecturers require a level 9 masters degree or a level 10 doctorate.
IT Professionals are in high demand in New Zealand, including Web Developers, ICT Project Managers, Software Developers, ICT Security Specialists, Database Admins, and Multimedia Specialists. The average salary for IT Professionals in New Zealand is 124,000 NZD, but salaries vary depending on experience and other factors. The immigration requirements for these roles are mostly having a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field, although experience may be required for some jobs.
ELECTRICIANS AND PLUMBERS
Electricians and Plumbers are consistently in demand throughout all cities and towns in New Zealand for regular repairs and new builds. To come into the country as an Electrician, a New Zealand registration as an Electrician or a certificate from the Electrical Workers Registration Board is required, or registration with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board and 12 months of experience for Plumbers. Both positions are paid hourly, with Electricians and Plumbers earning around 33 to 39 NZD per hour, depending on experience. Paid apprenticeships are often available to learn additional skills.
Increases in construction around New Zealand has caused there to be a shortage of Surveyors. This is especially the case in the largest city of Auckland. Qualified overseas workers can come into the country to work as either land Surveyors or Quantity Surveyors. At an entry level, there’s a wide range in pay for these jobs from around 45,000 NZD to around 95,000 NZD As a more experienced worker, this goes up to around 100,000 NZD to 150,000 NZD with Quantity Surveyors tending to make more than Land Surveyors for both. Whichever type of surveying you come to do, you will need a bachelor’s degree or other approved qualification but for quantity surveying you may also need 3 years of experience in a relevant job.
Civil Engineers are in demand as multiple large construction projects around New Zealand have already been threatened by a shortage of skills. Structural Engineers and Civil Engineering Technicians are also needed. For these jobs the immigration requirements are a bachelor degree or other approved qualification in your specific field. Civil Engineers tend to make 100,000 NZD a year or up to 160,000 NZD as a Civil Engineering Manager. As a Draughtsperson on the other hand you can make up to 70,000 NZD or up to 110,000 NZD with years of experience.
OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
Other construction jobs like Project Managers, Project Builders, Bricklayers and Stonemasons, Carpenters and Joiners, Glaziers, and Air Conditioning Mechanics are also relatively easy to get into New Zealand for. If you have a bachelor degree or other qualification, then you may have all you need to make the move. This is a wide range of professions, but the average salary is around 72,000 NZD for construction jobs. It can however range from a lot less than this, all the way to more than 170,000 NZD a year depending on experience.
SPECIALIST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
Highly skilled workers in almost any profession can find work in New Zealand, and this is especially the case for medical professionals. Specialist doctors like Anaesthetists, Paediatricians, Cardiologists and Neurologists as well as different types of Surgeons can get work visas through the Green List. Surgeons can make upwards of 200,000 NZD per year and can make even more if working in a private hospital or clinic. Most other specialist healthcare professions have similar salaries. In most of these areas you will require registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand to get into the country
There is currently a shortage of Midwives in parts of the country, so this is another profession that can help you make the big move to working and living in New Zealand. As a Midwife you can choose to work self-employed, but the pay in a hospital or company can be higher if you have experience. The average pay for a midwife is around 70,000 NZD to 84,000 NZD or up to 140,000 NZD with experience and extra responsibilities. Your only requirements are registration with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and at least three years of experience.
OTHER MEDICAL ROLES
Psychologists, Radiologists, and Radiation Therapists are needed as well as Physicists and Physiologists, and even Medical Laboratory workers. For medical jobs in general, the average salary is around 64,000 NZD but can be much higher than this in some professions. For example, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologists can make upwards of 240,000 NZD per year with experience, but even with little experience Radiologists can make well above 150,000 NZD. Like with other jobs on this list, you will likely only need to have a relevant registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand to get started.
In the field of Engineering, there are many jobs that can be done. New Zealand is leading the way in some areas of Engineering, so there is plenty of work available to migrants with the right skills. These jobs include Chemical Engineering, Material Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and more. There are different ways to get into the country in these fields, but you will most likely just need a bachelor (or higher) degree or another accepted qualification. Once here, salaries can range from around 60,000 NZD to well above 100,000 NZD per year with opportunities to make more money depending on your company.
ELECTRICAL AND TELECOMMUNICATION ENGINEERS
Electrical Engineers and Telecommunications Engineers are becoming more and more crucial as the world becomes more reliant on electronic infrastructure to keep going. These Engineers are needed after any big weather event or earthquake that damages any power or communications networks. Different levels of experience in these roles can make pay vary, but generally, you can make around 65,000 NZD per year with few years of experience or up to 140,000 NZD with more experience and higher positions. To get started in either of these jobs, similarly to other engineering jobs, you will need a bachelor degree or other qualification.
ACCOUNTANTS AND PROCUREMENT MANAGERS
Accountants and Procurement Managers are another two jobs that are essential to keeping a country’s economy moving. For an Accountant in New Zealand, the average salary is around 82,000 NZD while for Procurement Managers the yearly pay is a bit higher at around 90,000 NZD a year. For Procurement Management, you will need 5 years of relevant experience as well as a CIPS (chartered institute of purchasing and supply) level 6 diploma. To be an Accountant the requirements are similar as you need at least 3 years of experience and a letter from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand to certify that you meet all requirements
In tourism hubs like Queenstown and Wanaka, Chefs are in demand in hotels and restaurants to give tourists a great culinary experience. You can come to New Zealand as a Chef de Partie or higher position. The hourly rate for a Chef de Partie is around 23 NZD while Sous Chefs make 25 NZD and Head Chefs can make up to 38 NZD an hour.
There are also many science jobs that can be a pathway into New Zealand. These are Environmental Scientists, Food Technologists, and (other) Spatial Scientists. Like with many of the other jobs in this list, the salaries can vary a lot depending on your company and role, but an average for science jobs in New Zealand is 84,000 NZD per year.
Automotive Electricians, Diesel Motor Mechanics, Vehicle Painters, and Panel Beaters are always in need throughout the country. All four of these jobs are paid hourly with vehicle electricians having the highest pay at 24 – 44 NZD per hour. Diesel motor mechanics, vehicle painters, and panel beaters all have quite similar pays at around 21 – 38 NZD per hour. For all of these, you will need a NZQF level 4 or higher qualification and for all except for automotive electrician, you will also need at least three years of relevant post qualification experience.
Manufacturing Specialist. There are a few different manufacturing and fabricating jobs that are in high demand throughout New Zealand. These are Composite Technicians, Metal Fabricators, Electric Line Mechanics, Plastics Technicians, and Sheet Metal Trades Workers. Manufacturing jobs in New Zealand can generally range in salary from around 40,000 NZD to 75,000 NZD. For all of these jobs, you will likely be required to have an NZQF level 4 or higher qualification to get a working visa.
AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY WORKERS
Agriculture and Forestry. Agriculture and Forestry are two of New Zealand’s largest sectors. You have likely heard before about how New Zealand has more sheep than humans- did you know there are also more cows than people! Because of this there is a high demand for Dairy, and other Farmers. Beekeepers, Arborists, Market Gardeners, Winemakers, and Vets are also on the skill shortage lists. The median salary for these jobs is 60,000 NZD. To get a visa as a Dairy Farmer, you will need an NZQF qualification at level 4 or higher as well as two or three years of experience (depending on the job). For some of these jobs, like Winemaker, you may however need a level 7 bachelor degree and 5 years of experience.
Truck Drivers are the backbone of any country, New Zealand included. They are always needed in various roles, like intercity postal delivery, petrol delivery, construction materials delivery, and much more. You will need to get a New Zealand recognised Level 4 or 5 heavy vehicle licence and at least 5 years of experience. The average annual salary for Truck Driver jobs in New Zealand ranges from $55,000 to $65,000. Experienced or Specialist Skilled Heavy Truck Drivers can earn a lot more.
Jockeys, Skydivers and Other Outdoor Leisure Workers. New Zealand is renowned for its outdoor and adventure industry. People who are skilled at skydiving and snow sport instructing are in high demand, as well as horse jockeys and trainers. Outdoor Instructors can make around 44,000 to 58,000 NZD per year but you also get the added benefit of working outdoors in a very fun job. Pay for horse trainers can vary a lot with experience and skills. Your only requirement is 4 years of experience training horses. For Snow Sport Instructing, you need an approved qualification and 2 years of experience.
There are many other jobs in demand currently and several routes to working in New Zealand. We’ve include the full Green List below, but even if your role is not the Green List you may still be able to migrate to New Zealand.
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