Finding a job and working in New Zealand

Finding work in Hamilton
Updated 2023-03-04 19:26

Located in the Waikato region, just over 100 kilometers from Auckland, Hamilton is a city on the rise. It is the fourth largest city in the country, with nearly 179,000 inhabitants and more coming in every day thanks to educational and professional opportunities available. With a diverse and growing economy, Hamilton is at the heart of a rich agricultural and pastoral area with a large dairy industry and a number of scientific research facilities. This area of New Zealand is very open to welcoming new residents from all cultures and backgrounds.

Thanks to the two leading educational institutes, the University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), the city has a significant resident academic population.

Hamilton's economy

Hamilton has a diverse economy and includes a mix of manufacturing, agriculture, and service industries.

Agriculture is a key industry in the region, with dairy farming, sheep and beef farming, and horticulture being among the main agricultural activities. The Waikato region, which includes Hamilton, is famous in New Zealand for producing high-quality dairy products and meat.

Manufacturing is also an important part of the economy, with companies producing a range of goods, including machinery, food products, and building materials. Hamilton is home to a number of industrial parks and business centers, including the Te Rapa Industrial Park.

Service industries, including healthcare, education, and retail, also contribute to the economy of Hamilton. The city is home to a number of hospitals, schools, and shopping centers.

Leading employers in Hamilton

  • Waikato District Health Board - If you need medical attention in Hamilton, the Waikato District Health Board has you covered! They provide healthcare services to the wider Waikato region, with a focus on delivering high-quality care to patients. With over 6,000 staff and a network of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, the Waikato DHB is a major employer in the area.
  • Fonterra - You can't talk about employment in Hamilton without mentioning Fonterra! As one of the world's largest dairy companies, Fonterra has its headquarters in the city, providing jobs to thousands of locals. From farmers to factory workers, Fonterra is a major contributor to the economy of Hamilton and the surrounding region.
  • Waikato Regional Council - If you're passionate about the environment and want to make a difference, the Waikato Regional Council might be the perfect place for you to work! The council is responsible for managing the natural resources of the region, from the rivers and lakes to the forests and parks. With a focus on sustainability and conservation, the council is a great employer for those who want to make a positive impact on the world.

Good to know:

Due to Hamilton's proximity to Auckland, it is possible to reside in Hamilton (which is more affordable) and commute to Auckland. As many workplaces adopt more flexible approaches to office hours post-pandemic, this may become more doable if your workplace only requires you to be in the office part-time.

The labor market in Hamilton

As the fourth-largest urban area in New Zealand, Hamilton has a diverse economy, with a mix of manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, education, retail, and tourism industries. This diversity means that there are many different types of jobs available in the city, from entry-level roles to highly skilled positions.

In recent years, Hamilton has experienced strong economic growth, with new businesses and industries opening up and creating job opportunities. The construction industry, in particular, has been booming, with new housing developments, infrastructure projects, and commercial buildings being built.

However, like other parts of New Zealand, Hamilton has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some industries experiencing labor shortages due to reduced immigration and border closures. But as we discuss below, the government is making efforts to fill these shortages with overseas workers.

Hamilton is also a research and higher education hub, attracting students and academics to the area to contribute to the economy. Healthcare and retail also provide many jobs in the city. In recent years, Hamilton has been drawing people away from Auckland, so the property and construction sectors have made significant gains. Even with this boom, housing is still relatively affordable compared with Auckland and Wellington.

Labor shortages in Hamilton

If you're looking for a job in Hamilton, you've picked the right time. Like much of the world, New Zealand has been hit with a labor shortage due to COVID-19, but the good news is that the borders are now open, and the government is working hard to fill those gaps with overseas workers. New Zealand's Green List has been mightily expanded with the addition of new roles that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

If you're wondering what kind of jobs are in demand, here are some industries in Hamilton that need workers:

  • Healthcare: Hamilton has plenty of hospitals, clinics, and aged care facilities. These facilities require nurses, doctors, and healthcare assistants, as well as support roles like administration and reception.
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Like the rest of New Zealand, Hamilton is experiencing extreme shortages in these sectors and you are likely to see many businesses operating under reduced hours as they simply cannot find the staff. Some of these positions may suit travelers or backpackers who are looking for temporary work to fund their trip around New Zealand.
  • Education: Hamilton is a university town, which means there's a high demand for academics, teachers, and support staff in education. If you have experience in this field, you could find a rewarding job helping to shape the minds of the future!
  • Construction: Like much of New Zealand, Hamilton is experiencing a construction boom. If you have skills in building, carpentry, or engineering, the construction industry in Hamilton is experiencing a skills shortage.

Job hunting in Hamilton

Many of Hamilton's employers are a bit more specialized, but this can be very helpful when trying to move from abroad, as it means they need candidates with specific skills and knowledge. Research the leading companies of Hamilton and Waikato and get in touch. Universities are another good place to start when looking for job openings in New Zealand.

As with job hunting in any city, it pays to be proactive. Here are a few tips that may be helpful when job hunting in Hamilton:

  • Research the job market: It's a good idea to research the job market in Hamilton before you start your job search. This will give you a better understanding of the types of jobs that are available, the industries that are hiring, and the qualifications and experience that are in demand.
  • Network: Networking can be a powerful tool for finding job opportunities. Consider attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and reaching out to people in your network to let them know that you're looking for a job.
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter: Make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job you're applying for. This will help you stand out and show the employer that you have the skills and experience they're looking for.
  • Be proactive: Don't be afraid to reach out to potential employers directly, even if they're not advertising a job opening. This can be a great way to get your foot in the door and showcase your skills and experience.
  • Use online job search tools: There are a number of online job search tools, such as Trade Me, LinkedIn and Seek, that can be helpful when looking for jobs in Hamilton – and in New Zealand in general. These platforms allow you to search for jobs by location, industry, and other criteria and can help you connect with potential employers.

Salary expectations in Hamilton

If you're wondering about salary expectations for a job in Hamilton, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Your potential earnings will depend on the industry you're in, your experience level, and the specific job you're looking at.

While New Zealand isn't exactly known for sky-high wages, Hamilton is an up-and-coming city with a growing economy, so you may find that salaries are competitive with other parts of the country. In fact, if you're relocating from certain parts of the world, you might even find that you're earning more than you were before! And with a lower cost of living than some of New Zealand's larger cities, your earnings may go further in Hamilton.

Here are some estimated annual salaries for a few common jobs in Hamilton, according to Payscale:

  • Operations Manager -NZ$55,000- NZ$120,000
  • Accountant - NZ$42,000 - NZ$91,000
  • Office Administrator - NZ$43,000 - NZ$60,000
  • Software Developer - NZ$50,000 - NZ$92,000
  • Project Manager - NZ$61,000 - NZ$129,000
  • General / Operations Manager -NZ$59,000 - NZ$147,000
  • Chief Executive Officer - NZ$88,000 - NZ$212,000

Remember, these are just estimates, and your actual earnings could be different depending on your specific situation. It's always a good idea to do some research and negotiate your salary before accepting any job offer. We recommend job seekers spend a bit of time researching the housing market and general cost of living in Hamilton, which will help them get a good sense of how far their income will get them.

The job application and interview process in Hamilton

The job application and interview process in Hamilton is similar to what you might expect in other places, but there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind, especially as an expat seeking work in New Zealand.

Before you apply for a job, research the company and the role to ensure you're a good fit. You can find helpful information on the company's website, and if it's a larger employer, it may have reviews on websites like Glassdoor. Tailor your answers to fit the company's needs, and be well-informed about the company's mission, values, and culture.

Most job applications are done online through the company's website or job listing websites like TradeMe or Seek. When crafting your CV and cover letter, keep it concise and highlight your skills. Bullet points are an effective way to make your skills stand out. It's important to tailor your application to the specific job you're applying for and include the names and contact details of referees in your CV or cover letter. New Zealanders tend to prepare shorter CVs, so if you have an opportunity to condense your CV, take it.

During the interview, dress professionally and practice your answers to common questions. First impressions are important, so even if the company has a more casual dress code, it's still a good idea to dress to impress. New Zealanders have a reputation for being informal compared to other cultures, but a job interview is not the time to lean into this trope.

Show your enthusiasm for the job and let your personality shine through. Remember that your interviewers may not be familiar with a workplace, company, or event that is well-known in your own country, so provide the context in your CV and cover letter that might be useful for a New Zealand-based employer. Some terminology may also be different, depending on your field, so make sure you research your field in New Zealand and understand how it might differ from what you're used to.

It's important to note that New Zealand isn't generally known for high wages, so be prepared for potential lower salary expectations. However, the cost of living in Hamilton is generally lower than in larger cities like Auckland, so keep that in mind when assessing salary expectations.

Overall, the job application and interview process in Hamilton is straightforward, and as long as you do your research, tailor your application, and be yourself during the interview, you'll have a good chance at success.

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.