The labour market in New Zealand

New Zealand
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Updated 2020-02-04 13:51

Thanks to New Zealand's large economy and required workforce, along with its relatively small population, New Zealand can't rely on its own population alone. This means that New Zealand is dependent on expatriate workers to help sustain some of its industries. No matter what industry you work in, you are likely to find a job. 

The New Zealand economy

The primary export sectors are:

  • Industries
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Forestry
  • Mining

The sectors that have long term work shortages and therefore need skilled migrants are:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Health & Social Services
  • ICT, Electronics & Telecommunications
  • Science

Other popular areas of work that often need both long and short term workers are tourism, hospitality, and the film industry. Property is also one of New Zealand's most significant non-export areas of commerce at the moment.

The country's GDP in 2019 was US$205billion, and it is continuing to grow. The current national unemployment rate is 3.9%. The national currency is the New Zealand Dollar and is one of the top ten most traded currencies in the world.

Wages in New Zealand

Your salary will depend on a lot of factors, including your qualifications and experience, your specialty, and where you are based/working. The average gross salary in New Zealand is $76,000 per year, with the majority of Kiwis earning around $50,000 per year. The minimum wage is currently $17.70 an hour. Service and hospitality jobs are usually lower-paid, whereas jobs in IT are paid the highest.

The legal national minimum wage is NZ$17.70 per hour for adults, which equates to NZ$141.60 in an 8-hour workday or NZ$708.00 for a standard 40-hour workweek. For those training or under 16 and just starting out, the wage is a bit lower at NZ$14.16 per hour.

Working conditions in New Zealand

All employees in New Zealand, whether part-time, full-time, casual or on a fixed-term contract, are entitled to four weeks of paid holidays or annual leave, per year. There are also 11 public holidays every calendar year, and if you are asked to work one of them, you will legally earn one and a half time, with most workplaces offering a day in lieu as well. After six months, you are also entitled to sick and bereavement leaves.

As a New Zealand resident, you will be able to sign up for KiwiSaver scheme, which is a savings/retirement fund that is automatically deducted from your wages. Your employer also contributes to your KiwiSaver. 

 Good to know:

You can benefit from your KiwiSaver earlier if you want to buy your first house, permanently leave the country, get hit by financial hardship, or are struck by severe illness.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.