Getting a job offer is often the first step to getting a work visa

Salaries in New Zealand

New Zealand wages vary greatly by profession, industry and region.

Salary Proportional to Qualification Level

Your level of qualification will have a big effect on how much you can get paid in New Zealand with a Bachelor’s degree reported to earn up to 40% over the average income. The higher the qualification, the more you will earn. However, the subjects you studied, your work experience, the demand for your skills in New Zealand, and how well you can negotiate your entry salary will have an effect too. Getting a New Zealand qualification may also give you the leading edge in your search for skilled employment.

Trademe website Salary Guide 2018 median pay and pay ranges by job category

Category Median pay Range
Accounting $65k $42k – $125k
Agriculture, fishing & forestry $50k $37k – $85k
Architecture $75k $45k – $125k
Automotive $55k $37k – $85k
Banking, finance & insurance $65k $42k – $125k
Construction & roading $60k $37k – $145k
Customer service $45k $37k – $65k
Education $55k $37k – $85k
Engineering $70k $42k – $125k
Executive & general management $85k $45k – $207k
Government & council $70k $40k – $145k
Healthcare $55k $40k – $85k
Hospitality & tourism $45k $35k – $63k
HR & recruitment $65k $45k – $125k
IT $100k $45k – $207k
Legal $65k $40k – $115k
Manufacturing & operations $47k $35k – $85k
Marketing, media & communications $65k $42k – $125k
Office & administration $50k $37k – $75k
Other $47k $35k – $105k
Property $75k $42k – $155k
Retail $42k $35k – $65k
Sales $60k $37k – $105k
Science & technology $55k $37k – $105k
Trades & services $55k $37k – $85k
Transport & logistics $50k $37k – $80k

Data is for full-time roles listed on Trade Me website between May 2018 and November 2018


Overseas Qualifications

Employers in New Zealand are used to the New Zealand National Qualifications Framework, which ranks qualifications from 0-10. For example, a Diploma is either 5 or 6, a Bachelor’s degree is 7, and a Doctoral degree is 10. To determine whether an international qualification is comparable to a New Zealand qualification, it is also ranked using this framework.

Immigration New Zealand has a list of common international qualifications that have already been assessed against the framework and displays the level. If your qualification is on this list, it is exempt from NZQA assessment.

If your particular qualification is not listed, you may need to get it assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Occupational Registration

Certain industry in New Zealand must be registered such as legal, medical, education or engineering. It is mandatory to have it in order to be able to work legally in New Zealand and/or to claim points under the Skilled Migrant Category. This can be a lengthy process that we can assist you with. There are requirements specific to each industry and you may need to provide evidence of registration when lodging your visa application.

You may, however, be able to undertake work without registration in certain cases depending on your sub-occupation, or when you work under the supervision of a registered professional.

Contact us to discuss your situation and /or to find out whether your occupation requires registration for your migration plan


Do Some Research

It is important you do your research before applying for jobs. Thoroughly research the industries and sectors that you are qualified for or experienced in. You will quickly get an idea of what jobs are advertised frequently.

If you do find a job you are interested in, it is also a good idea to do some research on the employer itself, who is the best person to contact in the human resources department, the size of the company, their competitors, career prospects within the organisation, etc. If you see a number of positions that you could potentially apply for, this is a good start.

You may be coming from a country where the job market is dramatically different from the New Zealand job market, and you may have to prove the quality of your work experience. Moving to a new country is also about being realistic and if you are struggling to find a job in New Zealand you might have to temporarily downgrade your expectations in terms of salary, rank, or region.

What are Your Changes of Finding a Job?

There are a number of criteria that will determine how likely you are to find work in New Zealand.

  • Is your occupation in demand?
  • Is there a shortage of local workforce?
  • Does your occupation feature on one of the three Essential Skills in Demand lists?
    • Long Term Skill Shortage List
    • Regional Skill Shortage List (Immediate Skill Shortage List)
    • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List
  • Is it an occupation that drives the New Zealand economy?

More specifically, if your occupation is in demand, you must ask yourself whether you are fit for the job. Do you have the right skills and experience, and are they in line with the employer’s expectations? Do you meet the requirements to apply for a visa in New Zealand?


If your occupation is on one of these lists, you may be more likely to find a job. New Zealand immigration defines and updates three lists annually to ensure they meet the changing needs of the labour market.

If the position you want to fill is on one of these lists it means suitable New Zealanders are hard to find and a visa can be granted to a qualified worker from overseas

There are 3 different lists for skills shortages:

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • Regional Skill Shortage List (Immediate Skill Shortage List)
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL)

If your occupation falls on these lists, it means that:

your occupation is in demand and your chances of finding a job are higher

it may be easier for an employer to hire overseas workers

your residence application may be quicker to process


This list identifies occupations for which there is a severe labour shortage throughout New Zealand, usually in mid to high-skilled occupations.

If your occupation is on the list, and you meet the requirement specified in that occupation you may be able to get a work visa leading to residence.


The RSSL identifies the regions with occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers due to current economic situation. Employment positions in this list facilitate the approval of temporary working visa applications.

While the application will be processed faster, one disadvantage to this is that you may not be immediately eligible to apply for residency. If your occupation features on the list, and you meet the requirement specified in that occupation you may be able to work in New Zealand on a work Visa, valid for up to 5 years, and which may be renewed.


If an occupation is listed on the Construction and Infrastructure Skills Shortage List, then an applicant may seek a temporary work visa. The job roles in this list are made up purely based on areas related to construction and infrastructure. Most of these are also specific to certain regions in New Zealand.

If your occupation features on the list, and you meet the requirements specified for that occupation, your employer may be able to hire overseas candidates much more easily, on Work Visa, valid for up to 5 years.


If you have the relevant qualifications and work experience, your chances of finding a job and getting a visa can still be very good. It is all about meeting an employer’s requirements.

Contact us for more information.


We may sometimes recommend a short qualification in New Zealand that will give you the competitive edge, particularly if you are from a country where your qualification and/or experience is unlikely to be highly valued. Depending on your situation the subject, and duration of your studies, you may be granted an open work visa after your studies in New Zealand, which in turn may lead to full time employment and possibly residence.

Talk to us now to determine the best pathway to achieve your migration goals.


Our Eligibility assessment provides you with a roadmap on which visa you qualify and how to achieve your goals to migrate to NZ. For example If you do not immediately qualify for residence under the SMC (unable to secure skilled employment) , if you are only interested in temporary options, our assessment will also include alternative pathways that allow you to work in New Zealand, Essentials Skills Work Visa, Work To Residence visa, Working Holiday Visa or other temporary visa options.


We are able to provide guidance for your NZ job search. However we cannot guarantee a job offer in New Zealand. We are not recruitment agents and there is no recruitment fees. Our aim is to facilitate the job search leading the lodgement of your visa application. Our fees is for eligibility assessment and immigration advice.