How to find a job in New Zealand
New Zealand is a popular destination for students and graduates. It offers a range of temporary, casual and seasonal jobs throughout the year, particularly during the summer and early autumn.
Labour market information
New Zealand experienced recession in 2008/2009— its worst in a decade. However, it officially exited it by the end of 2009. The economy grew by 1.7 per cent in 2010 and 2 per cent in 2011. Trade sectors remain vulnerable to weak external demand from a fragile world economy, and unemployment reached 6.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.
During such uncertain times the more qualifications and the more experience you have, and the more preparation you do before you travel, the better your chances of getting a job in New Zealand. Over the past 10 years, about 30,000 Irish people have received permission to work in New Zealand and there are certain sectors that still need skilled workers.
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, areas of growth over the next few years are expected to be in:
- Business services
- Construction: especially in reconstruction, following the recent Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes.
- Health education
- Retail and social care: particularly care of the elderly.
Applying for jobs
The typical length of a graduate CV in New Zealand is two to four pages. Online applications are becoming more common. Write a concise, formal application email to go with your CV. Many university careers service websites offer good advice on CVs and applications. See:
Types of jobs
There are thousands of farms of all sizes throughout New Zealand requiring temporary labour, particularly during busy periods such as harvest times or sheep-shearing. There are a number of organisations in New Zealand that assist you in finding work on farms in return for free food and board. You usually work a few hours a day and get to see New Zealand farm life first hand. Help Exchange is a free online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farm stays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&B, inns, backpackers' hostels and others who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
Fruit picking and packing
Fruit picking is hard work and low pay, but it’s a good way to see another side of New Zealand life.
Many travellers work in a hostel, cleaning or on reception in return for free board and some spending money. The Budget Backpacker Hostel Chain (BBH Hostels) has listings on its website for people wanting to work in hostels in return for free board and/or pocket money.
Hotels and catering
Hotels, motels, lodges, restaurants and bars normally require barmen and barmaids, chambermaids, handymen, receptionists, and waiters and waitresses throughout the year.
Casual jobs such as cleaning, driving, labouring, portering and security work are often available in factories and warehouses.
Internships and work experience
New Zealand offers a Student and Trainee Work Permit which allows students to do work experience and internships in Zealand as part of their studies. This visa is specifically designed for students fulfilling a course requirement, medical and dentist trainees and jockeys. There are many work experience opportunities in agriculture, hospitality, tourism and services. Visit these websites to search for internships:
- Internship New Zealand
- Year Out Group
- Kiwi Internships
- Queenstown Resort College: offers paid internships in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Some employment agencies specialise in temporary and casual job vacancies in offices. It is an advantage if you have some experience or if you have a qualification in a profession.
Qualified teachers who are interested in teaching in New Zealand can find more information on the Teach NZ website.
Jobs are available in shops, at tourist attractions, and on boats and beaches or ski resorts throughout the country.
Volunteering can be a great way of gaining work experience and there are a large number of voluntary agencies throughout New Zealand. You can search for voluntary opportunities by type and location on the Volunteering New Zealand website.
Finding a job
The following sources may be helpful:
- Backpacker Board: casual jobs and information for backpackers
- GradConnection: graduate jobs and internships
- Careers New Zealand: a government website with a jobs database and industry vacancies
- Seek: jobs
- Seasonal work
- Working in New Zealand: advice on moving to New Zealand and jobs.
Many New Zealand newspapers contain job sections. Vacancies are advertised mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Major daily newspapers include:
Recruitment consultants tend to specialise in skilled, professional and executive jobs, while employment agencies handle all kinds of jobs, including unskilled and temporary jobs. You can find local recruitment consultants and employment agencies by looking in the Yellow Pages. Some of the largest recruitment agencies are:
Skills shortage list
Visit the skills shortage list to see a list of professions which are in demand. They range from apiarist and shepherd, to scaffolder and ski instructor. There are also dozens of vacancies for less exotic occupations.
Apply directly to a company
You can apply to companies directly in New Zealand. This approach can be particularly successful if you have skills, experience and qualifications that are in short supply in New Zealand. Useful addresses can be obtained from trade directories such as Kompass New Zealand or from the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
We would like to thank the careers service at Dublin Institute of Technology for their help with this article. This information was correct to the best of our knowledge at October 2012.