Jobs in skill shortage and labour shortage

Skill shortages happen when employers find it hard to get staff with the right skills for the job. Knowing which jobs are in can help you choose the best job option or decide what subjects to study.

Jobs in skill shortage and labour shortage can change quickly if economic conditions change.

Find out more by looking at job advertisements and talking to employers in areas you'd like to work in.

Reasons for skill and labour shortages

Shortages can happen because:

  • there aren't enough workers with the right skills available
  • turnover is high because workers are unhappy with pay or working conditions 
  • there is a general labour shortage, such as during low unemployment.

Shortages can change due to:

  • changes in technology or the economy
  • skilled workers moving to another country
  • people leaving the workforce.

Immigration New Zealand's Green List and Sector Agreements show skills and labour gaps

Immigration New Zealand's Green List and Sector Agreements aim to make it easier for employers to fill genuine skills gaps by recruiting overseas workers.

These lists can also give you an idea of which jobs are in skill shortage or labour shortage:

  • the Green list makes it easier for employers to attract migrants into skilled, highly paid and care workforce occupations. 
  • the sector agreements are a temporary measure to  make it easier for employers to attract migrants to fill lower- paid roles, with Accredited Employer Work Visas.

Immigration New Zealand's previous skill shortage lists can indicate jobs in demand

Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage lists showed that the Government was actively encouraging skilled workers from overseas to work in particular roles in New Zealand.

The skill shortage lists were last updated in 2019. They aren't being updated, but they can give an indication of jobs that are likely to be in demand.

Find out more about jobs that were on Immigration New Zealand's long-term, regional, and construction and infrastructure skill shortage lists within the following industries. Note that this does not include jobs on the Green List which were previously  not on a skill shortage list. 

Jobs in Construction and Infrastructure

Architecture, Technical Design and Mapping

Geospatial specialists gather and analyse geographic and spatial (location-based) information and use specialist software to present it in user-friendly formats such as maps and 3D models.

Surveyors plan, direct and conduct survey work to determine the position of boundaries, locations, topographic features and built structures.

Survey technicians collect, record, and evaluate geographical information and prepare databases, maps, charts and plans.


Brick and blocklayers lay bricks, concrete blocks and tiles to construct or repair buildings, walls, arches, chimneys or paved areas.

Building contractors run their own businesses and plan, supervise and work on the construction and alteration of buildings.

Building and construction managers plan, control and co-ordinate civil engineering or building projects, and the resources and people involved.

Building surveyors inspect plans and building constructions to see if buildings are, or will be, built correctly. They may also issue certificates, write reports and help owners and potential buyers with construction problems and solutions.

Carpenters work mainly with wood to repair or install foundations, walls, roofs, windows and doors in buildings.

Electricians test, install, maintain and repair electrical systems and equipment.

Wall and floor tilers lay ceramic, clay, slate, marble and glass tiles.

Flooring installers lay, replace and repair floor coverings such as carpet, linoleum, vinyl and timber.

Glaziers install or replace glass or mirrors in buildings, vehicles or boats and may create decorative glass features.

Joiners use timber and board products to make fittings such as cabinets, doors, window frames and stairs. 

Plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers assemble, install and repair pipes, drains and fixtures and fittings that supply water and gas or remove waste.

Plasterers apply plaster or other materials to buildings. They usually specialise in either interior or exterior plastering.

Quantity surveyors manage finances for construction projects. They calculate budgets based on clients' requirements, and prepare detailed estimates to ensure budgets are sufficient for each stage of construction.

Roofers repair or install roofs using materials such as roofing iron, tiles and shingles.

Scaffolders design, construct and remove scaffolding around buildings and other structures such as bridges. 

Stonemasons work with stone to construct or renovate buildings, fittings, walls and paving, or to create monuments.