Which jobs are in demand in New Zealand?

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Deciding on what to study can be a fun and exciting experience, but with so many choices, picking one course can be a difficult task. One thing that can help you decide is researching some of New Zealand’s booming sectors.

New Zealand’s current economy is strong, and with an unemployment rate of just 4.2%, the demand for new graduates is high. Booming industries aren’t able to tap into the current labour market to fill new and vacant positions and therefore look to employ new graduates who are jumping into the job market for the first time.  

There are many reasons why certain jobs may be in high demand, and some are not. In some sectors the workforce is reaching natural retirement age, so a new workforce is needed to replace those retirees. In other sectors, such as construction, the demand for new labour can happen because of population growth or environmental factors such as earthquakes. New technology developments can also drive labour demand.

Here we delve into some of these booming industries and examine the reason for the demand in particular areas, looking at where the job opportunities are to help you make the right decision about your future.

Information Technology


How big is the tech industry?

IT April 2018 17 of 29The technology industry is New Zealand’s fastest-growing industry according to NZ Tech. The technology industry comes in as New Zealand’s third-biggest industry, behind agriculture and tourism, with technology companies noting record profits during 2018. With the goal of making New Zealand into a leading technology hub, the Government are making strides expanding and growing the industry, and with this growth of the IT industry, means that a huge increase in jobs and opportunities.

Wellington is home to a number of globally operating tech companies like Datacom, Xero, Raygun, Catalyst and has a great reputation for being particularly strong in the areas of web, mobile, game development, cybersecurity, data analytics and open source. This means there is a wide range of paths and avenues students studying IT in Wellington can take. There are loads of other roles like software development, computer science, tech support, systems analyst to name just some of the possible areas you could work in.

What jobs are in demand in tech?

An area of IT that is becoming more and more important is in the area of cybersecurity. This has been accelerated by some of the widely reported security issues concerning some of the most used internet platforms like Facebook, Gmail and Google+. There is a growing recognition of the importance of security in the digital world. The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU has tightened up the regulation surrounding an individual’s personal data too which will help maintain the need for security professionals.

Another area where demand is high, and labour is low is in the area of data. Data is becoming more and more important to businesses as they utilise data to make better and more informed business decisions.

How do I get qualified in this area?

Whitireia and WelTec have responded to the skill shortages within the tech industry and have designed courses to meet this demand, creating work-ready graduates to fill this void. Our new Bachelor of Information Technology, where you can learn about data, was designed alongside IT Professionals New Zealand, allowing students to learn real skills that the industry actually needs. The teaching method is hands-on in smaller class sizes helping students develop and learn. With this course, students can delve into data, cybersecurity, software development and more.

Our Graduate Diploma in Information Assurance and Security programme gives students the knowledge and skills that are being sought within the industry, particularly within the security space. Students will leave with a full understanding of cyber threats and learn how to design cybersecurity systems that can counter these threats. With these skills, students will be able to bring their newly acquired knowledge to the workforce and take advantage of the opportunities available in this growing sector.

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What’s happening in the construction industry?

The demand for new workers within New Zealand’s construction industry is huge, with 50,000-60,000 new recruits needed by 2022. There have been concerns raised by the construction industry about where these new workers will come from, and with things not appearing to be slowing down any time soon, it’s clear that there will be a lot of construction opportunities for new graduates.

There are two main reasons why this demand is so high: the population of New Zealand has been steadily growing over the last number of years, meaning there is a high demand for housing and infrastructure to meet the needs of this bigger population; and with the effects of the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes, many resources have been pulled in to help the re-build. Electricians, quantity surveyors, architects, carpenters and tilers are all needed to meet this demand. New blood is required in loads of areas and at every level within the construction industry.

What construction jobs are in demand?

HD 42 of 482018 April Construction photosHousing is a major issue in New Zealand, with homeownership rates falling to their lowest rates in 60 years, and the major reason for this issue is a lack of supply. A lack of supply in housing has increased the cost of buying a home, pricing many first home buyers out of the market. In response to this, the Government have noted building new homes as a priority, which can be seen in the consent levels for building new homes which continues to rise.

Homebuilders and associated trades and skills that go with building a home are needed to tackle this issue. Having a qualification in this area will mean that there will be a massive amount of job opportunities throughout the country. 

How do I get started in construction?

Whitireia and WelTec are home to New Zealand’s biggest trades training facility, where students can learn how to build real homes that will go on to become lived in houses. Throughout their construction study, students work on-site and learn all of the fundamentals of building a house, including framing, roofing, internal linings, hanging doors and so much more.

Students studying other trades also get to craft their skills in this real-world environment as these houses often need students studying painting, plumbing and electrical too. Students have the opportunity to learn while working on a real building site, they learn about working with different materials and they learn the necessary health and safety information too. This means they are work-ready the moment they graduate.

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Hospitality and Tourism


How big is the hospitality industry?

New Zealand’s hospitality industry is worth over $11 billion annually and currently employs nearly 130,000 people. With no signs of slowing down, we are seeing growth in nearly every area of hospitality and tourism which means there are loads of opportunities for workers. The accommodation sector looks set to grow with a proposed 120 new hotels potentially on their way, and the restaurant industry is soaring with more eateries opening nationwide. The highly lucrative cruise ship industry is also sailing into record numbers as a result of steady population growth and new tourism markets opening up like India, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Where can I get a job in hospitality?

Web 40 of 106Cookery level 4With New Zealand’s booming hospitality and tourism industry there comes a demand for new staff to service it. The restaurant industry is one such area crying out for staff with massive struggles being reported in finding adequately trained staff to meet demand. Some restaurants in Tauranga have said they may be forced to close as a result of their unfilled demand for chefs, while Waikato is experiencing similar issues with the industry calling on overseas workers to fill the gap in the short term. With the increase in population, tourism spending and new restaurants, the demand for chefs, baristas, hospitality managers and tourism professionals look set to get bigger and bigger meaning a really fruitful labour market for qualified hospitality graduates.

How do I get started in hospitality?

Whitireia and WelTec offer courses at a number of levels that can get you started on your path to becoming a chef. Our cookery courses are taught at our Cuba Street and Porirua campuses. Here students are able to refine their craft at our training restaurants where they learn the skills needed to become a qualified chef, baker or barista in a real restaurant setting. This learning environment means graduates are ready to step straight into the workforce.

Our tutors have worked within the industry both within New Zealand and overseas, so they know exactly what is needed to thrive. There are a ton of options and opportunities for graduates with some going on to work with world-renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay, while others open up their own businesses like our graduate Maxine Scheckter who opened Sugar Flour in Kilbirnie.

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Final Thoughts

The great news for current students is that there are so many opportunities available in a wide range of industries across New Zealand, making the future an exciting prospect. A strong economy and rising population would indicate that the landscape for graduates will continue to be bright, a positive for high-school leavers, but also for people thinking of getting back into studying or changing careers.

While we looked at information technology, construction and hospitality here there are loads of other industries that are experiencing really high growth levels and need new people to enter the workforce.  

Written by Bobby McGuinness
- Whitireia & WelTec

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