Immigration to New Zealand is continuing to hit record levels, pushing the annual population growth rate to its highest pace since 1974. While a number of factors have contributed to this - increased business confidence, a weakening Australian market and the end of the mining boom; an increase in the number of skilled migrant visas available - the result is a more competitive climate for expat job seekers.
Here we'll look at what international job seekers can do to speed up their job search and position themselves as highly attractive candidates when seeking work in NZ.
What employers want to know
It is important for job seekers to clearly articulate why they are relocating to New Zealand and to explain to potential employers the circumstances for making the relocation, and the steps you took to achieve the move. Whether your reasons were due to family considerations, family links, career progression or simply a desire to gain a different kind of experience, it is important to explain why you have chosen this particular location and your long-term intentions. This instills confidence in a potential employer as to the reasons why you are in NZ and paints a more complete picture of you as a candidate.
You will need to identify where your skills and qualifications are transferable, particularly if you are qualified in a specific industry or market. Making clear how your current qualifications are relevant to the local market also helps to demonstrate your knowledge of local market conditions and provides some insight into where your value lies in the offshore market, which can help show your commitment to the move.
It can also be of benefit for job seekers to highlight organizations they have worked for that have operations in NZ and examples of communications or relationships they have maintained with the NZ market.
Finally, it is important for job seekers to be mindful of the positions they are applying for and to show dedication to a particular market - don't arrive in NZ and apply for anything and everything simply to find a job and have experience in NZ. Job seekers need to identify where they can add value to the market as they will still be competing with local talent and there is great potential for candidates who can identify how their skills, knowledge and value add from offshore experience can be of benefit to an employer.
Markets in demand of international job seekers
In 2015, NZ recorded a record net gain of more than 50,000 migrants, which is attributed to the strong NZ economy and the slowing of Australia's mining and resource boom. We're seeing a particular hunger for job seekers who can demonstrate 3-5 years commercial experience in most sectors, as well as Kiwi's returning home. There is also a shortage of talent at mid-level management across all disciplines and industries.
Despite this, when considering an international move, it is prudent to look at how much demand there is for workers with international experience in your particular field or industry. This will ensure that you are not arriving during a time when there is little opportunity and the chances of finding work are slim.
Growth in construction has been strong over recent years driving GDP growth. The New Zealand government has invested $40m in construction projects since the Christchurch earthquake, while Auckland is also experiencing a shortage of housing for the levels of immigration they are seeing and are therefore pushing for consent to develop. This is a positive upswing from recent years, with NZ experiencing their own financial crisis in 2007, which was largely property-driven.
Employers are not seeing the skills locally to meet the demand in construction, and are in need of experienced/qualified Quantity Surveyors, Site Management, Project Management and Senior Development Managers across both the residential and commercial side. There is also a high demand for New Zealanders returning home, as they have a solid understanding of the market, local culture and business practices.
There has been a noticeable drop in demand for international candidates in the Technology industry, although it still has the highest number of vacancies and applications (mainly graduates from India & china). Kiwis or expats with demonstrable experience, strong communication skills, as well as strong soft skills and hard technical skills, will see the most opportunity within this market.
Marketing and Digital
We're observing opportunity across the board for Kiwi nationals returning home. As marketing and digital are quite a bit more advanced in places such as the US and the UK, employers view experience gained in these markets quite favorably and expect candidates with international experience to bring a more advanced, forward-thinking mindset to the role.
Job seekers with strong experience in sales and relationship building and who come with strong networks are highly sought after, while clients are demonstrating an interest in taking on candidates who have had exposure working for global organizations.
Supply chain, in particular, is experiencing a skills shortage and Procurement is a lot more sophisticated outside of NZ. Strong category management experience with both direct and indirect procurement are most in demand within this space.
International job seekers traditionally find it quite difficult to source work within FS as the roles are typically a lot broader than what they may be accustomed to. Therefore, expats returning home, permanent residents and workers on partner visas who are able to demonstrate adaptability are in high demand. Job seekers seeking work in the Financial Services sector need to be able to demonstrate where they have taken on additional responsibilities outside of their typical job description or worked across multiple platforms.
As organizations continue to grow and invest, they are in a stronger position to invest in employees and offer progression opportunities. For this reason, talent is not necessarily looking to switch roles as they are committed to their current employers. This means employers need to look externally to the local market, opening up opportunities for international job seekers and helping to address the domestic talent shortage.
If you're looking for opportunities in New Zealand, get in touch with our Global Opportunities team to see how they can help you find your next career move.
Job seekers looking to move to NZ can improve their chances of finding work by:
- Clearly articulating why they want to relocate to NZ and how your skills and experience translate to the NZ market
- Highlighting and previous experience they have working with or building relationships with NZ companies
- Demonstrate how they can add value to NZ operations
- Be mindful of the roles you are applying for and be targeted in your approach - don't just apply for every jo b you see!
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