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Environmental EngineerAlternative titles

Mataaro Taiao

This job is sometimes referred to as:

Natural Resources Engineer
Waste Water Engineer

Environmental engineers assess the impact of engineering projects on water, soil, air and noise levels, and advise and design ways to minimise this impact. They also plan and design systems to treat and remove waste, such as waste water systems.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

What are the chances of getting a job?


Chances of getting a job as an environmental engineer are good due to a shortage of people in the role.

Job opportunities are particularly good for experienced environmental engineers.

The job of environmental engineer is on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list, which means the Government is actively encouraging skilled environmental engineers from overseas to work in New Zealand.

Spending on infrastructure creates steady demand for environmental engineers

New environmental standards mean that many local authorities are upgrading their water infrastructure. Between 2010 and 2020, $11.46 billion will be spent nationally on maintaining and upgrading water collection, treatment and waste water facilities. Environmental engineers are needed to help design and supervise this work.

Government spending on infrastructure is also contributing to demand for environmental engineers. The government's National Infrastructure Plan outlines plans to spend about $12.2 billion on upgrading New Zealand's state highway network by 2021. It has also allocated $7.6 billion for new public buildings such as schools, hospitals and prisons over the next 20 years.

Environmental engineers will be needed to help monitor and offset the environmental impact of these works.

Variety of employers

Environmental engineers work for a variety of employers, including:

  • private engineering consultancies
  • regional and local government authorities
  • infrastructure and utility companies, such as roading and electricity companies
  • government agencies, such as the Ministry for the Environment.


  • Hays Recruitment, 'Hays Quarterly Report: Engineering: January - March 2014', March 2014, (www.hays.net.nz).
  • Immigration New Zealand, Long-term Skill Shortage List, accessed March 2014, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
  • National Infrastructure Unit, '2013 National State of Infrustructure Report, accessed March 2014, (www.infrastructure.govt.nz).

Other vacancy websites

Progression and specialisations

Environmental engineers may progress into managerial roles or become partners in an engineering firm. They may also set up their own business and work as self-employed contractors.

Environmental engineers can also specialise in areas such as:

  • project management
  • construction management
  • health and safety
  • planning
  • estimation
  • environmental science. 

How many people are doing this job?

Year 2012
Year 2011
Year 2010
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.

An environmental engineer in farmland collecting samples

Demand for environmental engineers is strong

Updated 17 Mar 2014