Good outlook for backpacker jobs in New Zealand

by Ray Clancy on October 31, 2016

Taking a year out to work and travel in New Zealand is becoming increasingly popular, especially since Australia is introducing a new tax rate for backpackers from January 2017.

And the latest job figures suggest that there are plenty of jobs around for backpackers who traditionally find employment during their stay in the country in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

083116-backpackingIndeed, hiring across the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors in New Zealand is increasing with the September index of job advertisements for jobs site SEEK leading the 6.5% rise recorded.

‘When we analysed our job ad data for all the hospitality, tourism and retail industries, over a three year period, on average 10.2% of those job ads for the hospitality and tourism sectors and 9.6% of the total job ads for retail and consumer products industry fell in September,’ said Janet Faulding, general manager for SEEK New Zealand.

‘We know that in September businesses are gearing up for the festive shopping and Summer holiday season. They are advertising on SEEK now to get the employees they need to service the busy period. It’s a great time for jobseekers to be looking,’ she added.

The top most advertised hospitality and tourism jobs were for chefs, cooks, front of restaurant and guest services while in retail it was sales assistant, department assistants and store managers.

Trish McLean, chief executive officer of Retailworld Resourcing Group, explained that in New Zealand there has been significant development and expansion of retail and hospitality venues in the past 12 months.

‘New venues require full staffing from management to casual staff. In addition to seasonal demand we can’t get enough chefs. Chef roles are hard to fill because of specific skill set and experience requirement,’ she explained.

‘There is also a high demand for retail shop front staff, the demand has increased this year with local business expansion and big international retailers such as Zara, H&M and David Jones, that recently opened stores across our major cities, these brands also require extra staff,’ she added.

In terms of where to look for a job in these industries the number of adverts are up 5% year on year in Auckland, up 11% in Otago and up 28% in Wellington, but down 25% in Canterbury. However, even though hospitality and tourism job ads are declining in Canterbury, the region is still ranked second for opportunities in this industry.

For retail jobs the top location is Wellington with job ads in this sector up 44%, followed by Otago up 40%, Auckland up 11% and Canterbury up 9% year on year.

At a national level, New Zealand’s largest labour markets, Auckland and Wellington, both enjoyed a year on year advertising uplift of 7.5% and 5.6% respectively, while in Canterbury the jobs market remained subdued with job ads down 5.5%.


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