Job Searching in New Zealand

Finding a job will likely be one of the most important stepping stone on your pathway to New Zealand, but looking for employment in a new country can be a daunting task.

New Zealand's job market is small, mostly hidden, and heavily network based. This means job searching is not as simple as sending out your CV. Being a migrant adds a whole different layer and will make your job search even more complex: You have to learn and understand what makes the New Zealand job market unique.

Below you can find out more about getting started, find answers to some frequently asked questions, and use our regional checker tool to see more about the opportunities and industries in each of New Zealand's 15 regions.

Essential Job Search Tools

Job searching in a new country is a daunting experience.
Learn advice, tips and pointers recommended for newcomers to the New Zealand job market:
webinar topic image, skills focused cvs

Writing your CV

In New Zealand your CV is a marketing tool.

Our Job Search Coach Jannie Allen discusses how to create an effective and ATS friendly CV, as well as CV tips and pointers.

image of cover letters

Writing your Cover Letter

Cover letters are often your first point of contact with an employer/recruiter to get them interested in reading your CV and interviewing you.

Read about how to structure and differentiate them.

The Hidden Job Market

Only 30% of jobs in New Zealand are advertised.

Learn about navigating New Zealand's Hidden Job Market & get tips for bettering your chances of finding work.

Networking the NZ Way

New Zealand's job market is heavily network based.

Take an inside view of networking in New Zealand in this insightful article by Anna Fyfe, one of our Job Search Professionals.

Using LinkedIn for Job Search

Almost 70% of NZ recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to source top talent. For many organisations, LinkedIn is their first go-to after their database.

Job Search Coach Mark Beltran discusses how to use LinkedIn to your advantage.

Remote Volunteering

Many newcomers to New Zealand have found volunteering useful for networking, making friends and also landing employment.

Job Search Coach Anna Fyfe discusses how to get into NZ volunteering while offshore.

Is Social Media Affecting your Job Search?

An estimated 70% of NZ employers check their applicants social media.

Job Search Coach Mark Beltran discusses how social media can affect your employability, and how to make social media work in your favour.

Self Assessment

Are you ready to start applying to jobs?

Job Search Coach Mark Beltran discusses four key components you should be ready for in our Job Search Self Assessment.

5 Worst Things to Say During an Interview

Avoid these common interview mistakes.

Mark Beltran discusses the top 5 worst interview responses in his experience working in recruitment, and as a Job Search Coach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the job search specific questions we get asked by migrants:

What kind of employees are NZ employers looking for?

New Zealand employers are typically small firms with no more than 20 employees and they need people who can make a positive contribution to their organisations.

You can read about the 8 things New Zealand employers particularly look for here.

What are accredited employers?

Essentially, accredited employers have completed an accreditation process by Immigration New Zealand. This means job offers from accredited employers will make the visa process a lot easier for you.

Find out where you can find them & if you can get a Talent Work Visa.

Can Recruiters Help?

Most of the time recruiters will need to reply to migrants, "unfortunately, we are not able to consider your application if you do not possess a valid work permit or working visa."

If you do have a visa, we advise you to take the time to research recruitment agencies that have the expertise to help you. They could be generalist agencies, that cover a vast range of industries or industry-specific agencies. You can find out more about recruiters here.

What are the main job search challenges?

Finding a job in a new country is daunting! In New Zealand the main extra challenge is the Catch 22 Dilemma; of finding it impossible to get a job without a visa, and not being able to get a visa without a job.

Apart from the Catch 22 Dilemma, you can find a number of other issues that will affect your job search here.

Can we guarantee you a job offer?

While the truth is that no professional adviser can guarantee or promise you a job offer in New Zealand, our success rate is exceptional. Most of our approved job search clients succeed in securing a job in New Zealand.

Your success in New Zealand job search will depend on a combination of factors, including your personal involvement, you can learn about these here.

How does the Covid-19 pandemic affect job searching in New Zealand?

The recent pandemic definitely changed the way we look at things and searching for jobs has been one of them. For the most part, finding a job now has added a extra layer of challenge and we understand that this can be disheartening.

Ask us how we can help you with your job search in New Zealand now. You might even qualify for our accelerate program.

Regional Checker Tool

Use our regional opportunity checker below to find introductions to the 15 regions of New Zealand, as well as check their areas of speciality and reputation for industries and employment.
Regional information is sourced from and credited to NZ Now.

Northland

Known as ‘the winterless North’ for its subtropical climate, Northland’s expanses of white sandy beaches, great fishing and scenic locations like the Bay of Islands all combine to make it a popular place to live.

Employment and Industries:

Northland’s main industries are tourism, pastoral farming, wood processing and marine engineering. Some of the world’s most exclusive superyachts have been built in Whangarei.

The deep water harbour at Whangarei is home to the Marsden Point Oil Refinery. Other industries around the region include cement manufacture, wood products and dairy processing.

Around two thirds of the region’s land area is used for pastoral farming, while tourism activity in Northland is higher than the national average

Auckland

Over 1.7 million people live in Auckland - over a third of New Zealand’s population. It’s the region of choice for over half of new migrants. They’re drawn here by Auckland’s job opportunities, good climate, stunning natural environment with beautiful harbours, beaches, and parks and its vibrant, cosmopolitan centre.


Employment and Industries:

Auckland is the nation’s economic powerhouse, accounting for 38% of New Zealand’s economic output (GDP) and 36% of New Zealand’s paid employment.

The industries that employ the most people In the Auckland region are business services (such as legal and accounting, marketing and management services), food and beverage manufacturing, health, hospitality, telecommunication services, building construction, machinery, and motor vehicle wholesaling.

Auckland's labour market has a high skills base, with more than 36% of employment in knowledge-intensive industries and 47.4% employed in high-skilled and medium-to-high skilled jobs. Auckland also accounts for half of New Zealand's technology workforce.

Waikato

One of the richest agricultural and pastoral areas of the world, the Waikato is home to New Zealand’s famous dairy and thoroughbred horse racing industries and base for many agri-businesses and research institutes.


Employment and Industries:

Dairying and agricultural bio-technology drive the Waikato’s economy, supported by thoroughbred horse breeding and training, forestry and coal mining.

Fonterra, the world leading dairy products supplier, is based here and Hamilton hosts the National Agricultural Fieldays, the largest agricultural tradeshow in the Southern Hemisphere.

Many of New Zealand’s leading agri-science research facilities are based in the Waikato and R&D is a key contributor to the economy. The electric fence and aerial top dressing are just two of the innovations to come from the region.

Education is another important sector, including a major University, a teacher’s college, technical institute hospital and nurse training.

Bay of Plenty

This is a beautiful part of New Zealand and combines some of our best beaches and our most fertile land with one of our highest annual tallies of sunshine hours. It has three main urban centres, all within about an hour’s drive of each other.


Employment and Industries:

Much of the region’s output is based on primary production and processing of fruit, meat and dairy products.

Kiwifruit is the region’s largest horticultural export with avocados becoming more important recently. The Port of Tauranga is a major economic force and one of New Zealand’s prime export gateways, and the region is also home to some world-leading boat design and construction firms.

Forestry is a major employer - the region’s Kaingaroa Forest is the largest hand-planted forest on Earth. Its output is shipped to the world from Tauranga port.

Rotorua was an early highlight for many tourists because of its geothermal steam vents, mud pools, geysers and hot springs. Today its sense of being a centre of Māori culture makes an essential part of any tourist itinerary.

Gisborne

The first city in the world to see the sun, this easternmost tip of the country is famous for its beautiful coastline, densely forested mountain parks, surfing and fishing, and is also a centre for wine and agriculture.


Employment and Industries:

With high, hot sunshine hours and fertile clay loam soils Gisborne district is an ideal environment for winemaking. The region is noted for its Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Malbec wines. Other local industries include agriculture, horticulture, farming, forestry and fishing.

Gisborne city functions as a service town for the district. Its port, a sheltered river port, hosts ships loading logs for export as well as smaller fishing vessels.

Hawkes Bay

The North Island’s fruit-bowl, the region also has extensive vineyards thanks to consistently hot and dry summers and autumns.

Napier, built in a distinctive art deco style, adjoins Hastings, the region’s agricultural service hub.


Employment and Industries:

Hawke's Bay is renowned for its primary sector industries. Cherries and apples, the original staples of the local economy are important: so are those classic New Zealand pastoral activities of sheep and beef farming. Grapes grow well throughout the region, and most famous are the wines developed in the Gimblett Gravels area. The Cabernets and Merlots produced there consistently outperform French competitors in blind taste tests.

The region also produces table vegetables, including organic produce. Food and beverage processing, forestry and manufacturing are significant industries.

Tourism is increasingly important in the region. Built around the region’s climate, iconic buildings, and wineries, Hawke's Bay hosts many concerts, conferences, sporting events and farmers' markets.

Taranaki

Dominated by Mount Taranaki, an almost perfect volcanic cone from which the region takes its name, Taranaki is noted for dairying, and its petro-chemical and engineering industries.


Employment and Industries:

Key industries in the area are agriculture and oil and gas – known locally as white gold and black gold. Dairy farming dominates the land, and the second-largest milk treatment factory in the southern hemisphere is located in the town of Hawera.

The country’s only operating oil and gas reserves are both onshore and just offshore in the Taranaki bight. Supporting these sectors is a thriving and innovative engineering sector and their strength also fuel thriving professional and hospitality sectors.

Whanganui - Manawatu

Palmerston North is a key university city, noted for its agricultural faculty, in a rich farming district. To the west, Whanganui lies at the mouth of the Whanganui river.


Employment and Industries:

The mainstays of the local economy are education, associated agricultural research, defence plus agriculture itself, mainly dairy farming, cropping, vegetables, sheep and beef. Due to its strategic location in the lower North Island, Palmerston North is also increasingly an important hub for logistics and distribution.

Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city, built on dramatic hills surrounding one of the southern hemisphere’s largest deep water ports. In 2017, Wellington was ranked No.1 city in the world to live in a global Deutsche Bank study.


Employment and Industries:

As the capital, Wellington is home to many national institutions and government agencies.

In recent years Wellington has developed thriving digital technology and film industries with files such as The Hobbit, King Kong, Lord of the Rings and Avatar being produced here.

Tertiary education and research are other important contributors to the local economy.

Marlborough

The region is famous for its fjord-like Marlborough Sounds and its vineyards thrive in one of our sunniest spots.


Employment and Industries:

Aquaculture, specifically green-lipped mussel farming, is an important economic activity. Farming (mainly sheep) is also important but the region’s signature crop is grapes.

In little more than 30 years, Marlborough’s wine industry has led an extraordinary expansion in the production of, and global regard for, New Zealand wines. Marlborough produces well over half of New Zealand’s export wines, and the region is known internationally for the consistent quality and distinctive style of its sauvignon blanc.

Tourism is increasingly important. Alongside its wineries and the playground of the Sounds, visitors are drawn to the excellent whale watching available off the Kaikoura coast to the east.

Nelson - Tasman

Nelson-Tasman often tops New Zealand’s sunshine hours. It also boasts golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing industries.


Employment and Industries:

The region’s economy has four main drivers - horticulture, fishing, forestry, and tourism.

Nelson’s port is the largest deep-sea fishing port in Australasia.

Horticulture includes apples, pears, kiwifruit, and hops. Viticulture and winemaking are developing strongly, with craft beer brewing becoming increasingly popular.

West Coast

The West Coast is famous for dramatic scenery, high rainfall, National Parks and characterful locals. Tourism, Mining and Agriculture are the major earners here.


Employment and Industries:

Tourists (including many eco-tourists) flock to the region for its glaciers, ‘pancake rocks’, wild and unspoiled beauty and native birds.

Commercial fishing in the area is rewarding but challenging; the Tasman sea is often rough. Gold has been productive not just in the rush years of the 1860s but on a smaller scale since then. There is limited logging of native timber literally on a tree by tree basis, and the West Coast has always produced excellent coal.

More recently dairy farming has also expanded, as previously marginal land has become economically viable.

Canterbury

Canterbury's largest city, Christchurch is a city of opportunity – where change and innovation have been embraced, creating a strong economy and a vibrant place to live.


Employment and Industries:

Canterbury has a thriving economy, with strong performance from key sectors including construction, hi-tech manufacturing, technology, agribusiness and tourism.

Christchurch is also New Zealand’s second largest region for technology businesses and boasts some of Australasia’s most innovative and successful software, hardware and electronics companies.

Canterbury is a world-renowned food growing region, producing amongst other things, meat products, seafood, dairy food and wine for domestic consumption and export. Non-food products are also important such as seeds and forage crops. The region is also a hub for agribusiness research and agritech innovations, undertaken by the private sector and by globally-recognised research institutes.

Otago

Otago offers a distinct South Island lifestyle and an alternative to more heavily populated northern areas.

Featuring stunning scenery, Otago offers mountains, vast plains, dramatic rivers, and remote beaches. Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ has an internationally recognised university that hosts New Zealand’s principal medical school.


Employment and Industries:

Education is a driving force for Dunedin’s economy. Otago University’s reputation draws students - ‘scarfies’ - from around the country and overseas. The university also includes New Zealand’s principal medical school and the only school of dentistry. Forestry and farming are important in the wider Dunedin region.

Inland, agriculture, horticulture, viticulture (central Otago produces some of the country’s best pinot noir) and tourism are among the big employers. The tourist towns of Queenstown (which has an international airport) and Wanaka are among New Zealand’s fastest growing centres.

Southland

Southland is New Zealand’s most southerly region and includes the World Heritage ranked Fiordland National Park. Southland's location is such that views of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights are common.


Employment and Industries:

Mainstays of the region’s economy are agriculture, led by dairy farming - Edendale is the world’s largest raw milk processing plant - and sheep. The aluminium smelter at Bluff is another major employer.

Tourism is important. Fiordland National Park attracts around a quarter of the tourist dollars spent in New Zealand annually. Forestry is also significant as well as fishing. The Southern Institute of Technology offers zero-fees tuition for many of its courses which is making education increasingly important.

Ready to find a great job
in a great city?

Job search is not just about CV's. New Zealand's job market is highly network based, and our Job Search Professionals know it inside and out.

Find out how we can help maximise your potential by completing our Free Assessment.