New Zealand's Skill Shortage list

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Sarah Peddie

New Zealand is a popular place for medical professionals to move to for their dream job. Expats living down under have a fantastic work-life balance - doctors and physicians are no exception. There are certain jobs that are highly sought after in New Zealand which need to be filled as quickly as possible to help the healthcare sector.

The country has something called a Skill Shortage list which tells you which professional roles need to be filled in New Zealand. There are a few different lists such as the long-term skill shortage list and also the regional skill shortage list which tells you what skills are needed in the different regions of the country.

If you are offered a job in New Zealand that is on the skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to go with it - getting a work or residence visa will be a lot easier for you.

Here are some of the medical professions that are on the list:

1. Clinical Psychologist 

Opportunities for a clinical psychologist in New Zealand are really good as the demand for the speciality increases throughout the country due to the impact of Covid-19.

There are very few people who are accepted or have graduated from psychology courses every year. It takes six to seven years training to become a psychologist.

According to the Census - in 2018 there were over 2,600 psychologists in New Zealand

2. Diagnostic Radiologist 

There are a few reasons why this medical profession is on the skill shortage list, one of the reasons is there are not enough diagnostic radiologists being trained throughout the country - training takes up to 13 years.

New Zealand has an aging population with more health problems with the combination of radiologists moving to overseas positions - New Zealand is running low on people with the skill.

There are around 430 diagnostic radiologists throughout New Zealand (2018).

3. General Practitioner 

General Practitioners are in demand in New Zealand due to the low numbers of medical graduates choosing to go into general practice.

As stated before, New Zealand has an ageing population which means that there are more people visiting general practitioners. The role is also an ageing workforce - around 44 per cent of general practitioners are planning to retire in the next 10 years with some moving overseas for better pay and working conditions. 

Since there is a shortage of general practitioners worldwide then it is difficult to attract these medical professionals from overseas to work in New Zealand.

There were around 5,600 general practitioners throughout the country in 2018.

4. Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

There is a shortage of obstetrician and gynaecologists in rural areas of the country as many of the doctors want to live in the main cities. 


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Almost a third of specialist doctors are over 55 years old and are due to retire within the next 10 years. There is a long training period of 14 years to be a fully qualified obstetrician or gynaecologist.

According to the 2018 Census, there were 138 obstetrician/gynaecologists in New Zealand. 

5. Psychiatrist 

Again, with New Zealand’s ageing population there is an increase in demand for mental health services in the country. This profession requires 12 years of training.

Some psychiatrists are moving away from New Zealand overseas for better pay and conditions. In the 2018 census, over 440 psychiatrists were in New Zealand.

If you are thinking about moving to New Zealand and working in the medical sector then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you find the perfect job.