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 Science


Food technologists research, develop and improve food and drink products. They may also be involved in the processing, packaging, storage and safety of food to meet government and industry standards.

Medical laboratory scientists carry out laboratory tests on blood, tissues and other samples taken from patients.

Medical physicists help plan radiation treatment for patients, check and monitor radiation equipment, and develop new treatment techniques.