The big centres in New Zealand are great places to live. There are lots of interesting people, varied jobs and industries, and there's always something interesting going on. That said, they also come with their own unique drawbacks. Here's why you should consider looking outside the big three for your next job opportunity.
Why should you look outside the main centres?
One is that they're more expensive. Using Immigration NZ's online living expenses calculator, we can get a feel for how much higher average rents are in the major centres of each island.
60 per cent of the population is crammed into 12 per cent of the total area of the country
North Island: Auckland = $555; Wellington = $506; Hamilton = $370; Tauranga = $439
South Island: Christchurch = $392; Dunedin = $357; Nelson = $347
The effect is more dramatic in the North Island, but the principle is the same in the South – it costs more to live in major cities.
Another is that they are densely populated. There are 3,677,400 people living in the North Island and over half of them (2,171,100) live in the Auckland and Wellington regions. A similar tale can be told of the South Island; of the 1,115,800 people, 612,000 of them reside in Canterbury. In starker terms, almost 60 per cent of New Zealand's population can be found in Auckland, Wellington, and Canterbury.
When you think about how this translates to geography, it means 60 per cent of the population is crammed into 12 per cent of the total area of the country – the other 40 per cent is spread comfortably throughout the remaining 88 per cent.
What are some of New Zealand's best regions to work in?
If being a part of that 40 per cent outside the big three sounds appealing, the next question you need to ask yourself is "Where to?" While there are many good choices, these four are all worth serious consideration.
1. Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty was the country's fastest growing region between March 2015 and March 2016. The region's gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the total economic output in a specific geographical area – grew by 7.7 per cent, according to Statistics NZ.
Generally speaking, the faster a region's GDP grows, the better. More output means more money circulating in the local economy, leading to more jobs and a higher standard of living.
The construction industry specifically is doing well in the BOP. Residential building grew by 21 per cent in 2015, 19 per cent in 2016 and is set to grow 34 per cent more until 2021, according to the National Construction Pipeline Report (NCPR), a government forecast of building activity over the next six years.
This bodes well for jobs. Demand for construction and trades-based workers is set to increase 14 per cent between now and 2022, according to the Future demand for construction workers (FDCW) report released by the government. The report also stated the occupations most in-demand will be Project Builders, Electricians and Plumbers. Job opportunities in general are on the up too, with vacancies in the region growing 10.3 per cent in the last year, data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows.
There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that building activity in the region is booming too; privately owned construction firm ZB Homes topped Deloitte's 2017 Fast 50 index, growing their revenues an incredible 1,583 per cent over the last three years.
Otago was the third fastest growing region between March 2015 and March 2016, according to Statistics NZ, its GDP growing by 4.8 per cent.
Dougal McGeown, chief executive of the Otago Chamber of Commerce, told the ODT in January that there were plenty of opportunities for construction workers in the region, as evidenced by the difficulty employers had in finding staff.
"I can only see the construction and building skill shortage getting tighter. It is a major issue we have to consider."
This has continued to be the case even as the year is near ending, with job advertisements growing by 19.7 per cent in Otago, according to ANZ's Job Ads data. Of this, jobs in construction, trades and services are up 4 per cent nationally on their previous three month's position. Data from the MBIE shows Otago job vacancies grew by an astonishing 24.4 per cent in the last year, almost seven times that of Auckland.
The Waikato region continues to be a great option for those that wish to be within driving distance of Auckland, yet in a place with cheaper accommodation. GDP grew 3.9 per cent in 2016. The NCPR and FDCW data combine the Bay of Plenty region's data with Waikato's, so the numbers are the same – 34 per cent projected growth in construction to 2021 and 1 per cent growth in construction workers to 2022. Job opportunities are looking up, with vacancies growing 19.7 per cent in the last year, almost six times the rate they grew in Canterbury.
Other kinds of evidence point to the Waikato region being a great place for construction and trades workers too. Building consents were up year-on-year in May, according to economic analysis firm BERL, who highlighted the Waikato region as one the regions at the head of the high-growth pack.
There's no reason why you have to live in the big cities – New Zealand's regional centres still have plenty to offer. If you'd like more information on finding work around our beautiful country, get in touch with the team at TradeStaff today.
almost 6 years ago by Will Percy