Employment in Nelson

The Nelson Tasman lifestyle helps attract skilled workers from other parts of the country and internationally, assisting in workforce stability. The regional unemployment rate was 3 percent in the year to March 2008. While it has grown slightly from the record lows recorded in 2007, this rate is still one of the lowest in the country and well below the national average. Employment growth in both Nelson and Tasman exceeds the labour force growth, resulting in falling unemployment. Two-thirds of the working-age population was in employment in Nelson and Tasman at 2006 census time.

State of employment in the region

There has been a shift in the numbers working in traditional industries like agriculture, fishing and forestry, to the growth sectors of retail trade, property and business services and manufacturing. In Tasman, the largest employing industries are agriculture, retail trade and manufacturing.

A large part of the region's employment growth has been in highly skilled occupations such as legislators, administrators, managers, professionals and technicians and this is where skill shortages are predicted in the future.

The notion of Sunshine Wages is not a reality and most employers recognise the need to offer competitive wages to recruit and retain appropriately skilled staff. However, the median hourly wage rates for Nelson Tasman region are slightly below the national median, largely due to the high numbers working in low wage industries and seasonal work.

Facts and Statistics

  • In March 2007, the total number of filled jobs for Nelson was 22,870 (up 2.1% from March 2006), the number for Tasman was 15,440 (up 0.1% from March 2006). Source: Statistics NZ, Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED)
  • In 2006, the property and business service sector was the largest employer in Nelson, with 38% of the city's workers. Source: Department of Labour, Annual in-depth regional report
  • Agriculture, retail and manufacturing account for over 50% of employment in Tasman. Source: Department of Labour, Annual in-depth regional report
  • Wage and salary earnings of people in the Nelson Tasman region from June 2005 - March 2007 were $39,560 (Nelson) and $36,710 (Tasman). Source: Statistics NZ, Linked Employer-Employee Data.
  • An informal survey based on job listings on the TradeMe website showed Tasman recorded the fifth-highest jump in salaries nationwide in the first half of 2008, with a 12% rise lifting the average salary to $44,263. In Nelson, the average advertised salary was higher, at $46,003, a 5.7% rise.

Finding work

To find work in the region, you must have permanent residency or citizenship, or a valid work permit. If you do not have permanent residency or a valid work permit, you will need to apply directly to the New Zealand Immigration Service Tel: 0508 558 855, www.immigration.govt.nz.

More information from Settlement Support New Zealand

If you are new to the country or looking to emigrate, you'll find useful information from the New Zealand Now website.