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New Zealand: Career Prospects - Must read

The top five graduate jobs in New Zealand

New Zealand is home to some top institutions and an excellent education system. It also offers many post-study work opportunities for international students with particular skill sets. We dig a bit deeper to find out more.

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International students are attracted to New Zealand for the high-quality education on offer and the associated lifestyle. For many students, graduation doesn’t necessarily mean a plane ride home but staying on to find work in a vibrant, diverse, and competitive economy. We’ve researched the types of skills and associated qualifications that are in demand in New Zealand. Our guide will give you a better sense of what the top graduate jobs in the country are.




One of the industries in New Zealand that is always on the lookout for recruits is engineering. According to the New Zealand government, 74,000 engineers currently work in the country, with an additional 1,500 engineers required each year to keep pace with economic development. This is good news for international students graduating with an engineering degree in New Zealand. The New Zealand government actively recruits candidates from overseas countries and international graduates. 


The government produces official skills shortages lists each year. They have identified priority engineering specialisations that are in demand. Luckily the list is quite comprehensive and includes:


  • Civil engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Industrial engineering
  • Telecommunications engineering
  • Production engineering


Further, key engineering skills can also make you highly employable. These skills include draughting and planning, as well as working as a technician. Therefore, even if your preferred engineering specialisation isn’t on the skills shortage list, the competencies and knowledge you learn in your engineering degree will also make you employable.


Find out more about studying for a degree in engineering.


Information technology


If you have your eye on a degree in information technology in New Zealand, it’s a good choice in terms of graduate prospects. The technology sector in the country accounts for eight per cent of gross domestic product and employs almost five per cent of the workforce. The industry has a global outlook with a significant export portfolio and enjoys an excellent reputation.


The government of New Zealand has listed information technology as a sector with long term skills shortages. The projected figures of those with technical skills needed are estimated to reach 5,000 per year to keep up with the demand in growth. In 2019 almost 3,700 visas were granted to international workers in the ICT sector. This figure represents 80 per cent of new appointments. Some of the specialist areas and roles required by the market are:


  • ICT project management
  • ICT security
  • Software engineer
  • Systems administrator
  • Systems analyst
  • Telecommunications engineer
  • Analyst programmer
  • Business analyst
  • Web developer
  • Network administrator


Explore what you can expect when you study information technology.


Business and finance


New Zealand has a steadily developing and growing economy, so the country is looking for the business and finance skills necessary to manage this growth. GDP growth is estimated to reach 3.8 per cent by 2024, and the country also holds the distinction of being rated as one of the top five countries to do business (Forbes). These factors and the requirement to compete internationally have led to projections of 40,000 new workers needed for the business sector each year.


The government has earmarked business services as a sector of significant growth. This means the potential availability of work for those with the scarce skills needed. Some of the areas of specialisation that may help you stand out and are listed as skills in short supply are:



Get on top of your study abroad research by reviewing the top universities in New Zealand.




The health and social services sector has been underlined as a priority by the government of New Zealand. As the population of the country grows so the necessity for health services increases. Thus, the need for qualified psychologists develops. Skills shortages in the sector are not uncommon and so this provides a good option for international students looking to find a suitable career path in the country.


Working as a psychologist in New Zealand requires you to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board and a postgraduate professional qualification in the area, preferably at a master’s degree or doctoral level. While there are job opportunities for various specialisations, the primary skills shortage in the country is for clinical psychologists.


Take a trip around New Zealand as we reveal the top student cities in the country.




Several medical specialisations have been highlighted as long-term skill shortages in New Zealand. With a mix of a private and public healthcare sector, the country is home to approximately 220 hospitals and significant government investment into the sector, around 10 per cent of GDP. The public healthcare system is extensive which means the demand for skilled medical graduates continues to rise.


New Zealand is already home to many international graduates practising in the healthcare sector, with 40 per cent of doctors registered in 2019 coming from overseas. Having a medical degree from a New Zealand institution that qualifies you to work in the healthcare sector can lead to a work visa or a skilled migrant visa, the latter of which gives you a route to residency. Some of the healthcare and medical specialisations sought after in New Zealand are:


  • Radiologist
  • General practitioner
  • Radiation therapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Trauma surgeon
  • Neurologist
  • Gynaecologist
  • Palliative medicine
  • Pathology
  • Cardiology
  • Anaesthetist


This is by no means the only area of healthcare in which you could potentially work if you study medicine. It’s always a good idea to refer to the New Zealand government’s official website on immigration, work and skills shortages to get more detailed information.


As you can see, there is significant potential for pursuing a career in a variety of fields in New Zealand. If you want to do further research you can read about how to match your career and study path and degrees to suit your personality.