In the third in our series of Hunted Worldwide, we take a look at Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and a part of the world that will take your breath away with it’s natural beauty.
Regularly described as ‘Natures Playground’ New Zealand is a popular relocation destination. If you love the outdoors, it’s impossible not be in awe.
With the help of Sarita Williams from Hunted’s newest partner Gough Recruitment (Real Estate, Property, Development & Construction specialists), here’s everything you need to know if the Land of the Long White Cloud and the Kiwi is an attractive proposition for you currently.
1 Market Overview
Wellington enjoys a steady year on year growth in employment opportunities. Although known as the culinary and creative capital of New Zealand, Wellington has enjoyed stronger growth in areas such as Digital Marketing and Social Media, Mining Resources and Energy, Government and Defence. There’s been a recent increase in roles related to Construction in industries such as Architecture and Trades in the past year also. Public sector and government continue to be a major market outside of the 3 months each side of the 4 yearly elections.
2 Contract versus Perm
Whilst Wellington has a strong uptake of contractual staff for specialist services, the number of contracts is declining and companies have more economic confidence to employ permanent staff. This economic confidence is also noted by more counter-offers to keep permanent staff. Despite this, in a number of sectors, particularly government and technology, contract numbers are still strong.
3 Professional Community
Wellington enjoys a strong professional community with specialist networking groups in various industries. Along with a large specialist consultancy community, there’s a very diverse labour force including government, the port, the arts and hospitality; meaning there’s professional training and growth events to suit all interests.
4 Business Culture
The city enjoys a great mix of business cultures due to strength in diverse industries from government to the arts. Generally, Wellingtonians are reasonably conservative in the professional environment. They’re courteous and respectful in communications with colleagues, and friendly towards guests or other professionals in shared office spaces.
There are now some companies moving the bar however, like TradeMe, where the dress code is ‘anything goes’, so the Accounts Payable employee might be sitting at their desk in a unicorn onesie. New Zealand is very culturally diverse so most organisations embrace this diversity with culinary treats to share, or celebrating cultural events together.
If you’re coming from the UK or a mature recruitment market, be prepared to be patient. Meetings are held as frequently as phone calls, and there’s no rush for the right person. A hurried approach can come across as pushy, no matter how honest the intention. It’s relationship; relationship; relationship – fortunately you can build trust and reputation very quickly.
Courteous, friendly and respectful. Wellington is also known as a big village due to the small size, so employees practice discretion when catching up in a local cafe.
6 Business Development
Windy Welly has a strong stable economy that is growing. With several large waterfront developments lodged at council, there are plans for more ‘shared spaces’ around the central city, newly developed parks, and discussions on extending the runway to encourage further long-haul flights. Wellington is in growth mode and opportunities are there to be found!
7 The CBD
Vibrant, lively and colourful, Wellington CBD utilises the waterfront and is full of cafes (the coffee there is exceptional) where customers can chill out on beanbags out front. There’s also first class fine dining, offering a base for everyone to relax and enjoy time outside of the office.
From the very creative dress code of Cuba St, to the more traditional smart suits on The Terrace, Wellington dress code has everything in between! If in doubt, always dress fairly conservatively to an interview!
Travel around Wellington is fairly simple, the bus from the airport to the city only takes 15 minutes, there are trains all the way up the Wairarapa and up Kapiti Coast for commuters. A lot of professionals choose to walk and bike opting (as is the norm) for a greener option.
If you’re ever lost, simply ask someone. It’s highly likely they’ll go out of their way to help. That’s a snapshot of the culture in NZ. A far cry from the atmosphere you’ll observe in other corners of the world, and the polar opposite of places like London.
Life in the city
‘Windy Wellington’ is so-called for obvious reasons. Sitting right on the coast near the Cook Straight, it’s unprotected from the elements. February is generally the hottest month, July the coldest.
New Zealand’s weather is predictably unpredictable. Similarities can be drawn from the UK’s climate, with NZ providing more varied extremes in most cases. When a strong southerly blows up the Cook straight you’ll know about it! Forget about a brolly… unless your last name is Poppins.
Wellington properties are not only tough to get hold of, but will cost you a pretty penny when you do. The average value of a house in the Wellington region is $491,236, and it’s rising at a high rate.
If you’re able to afford above the $1m mark, you’ll want to look on picturesque hills that border the city – some with their own funicular. If you’re struggling to see the value, then areas out of town like Lower and Upper Hutt are a nice compromise and offer a short commute in.
Wellington has endless new cafes, bars and restaurants, and an array of old timeless favourites. With New Zealand being synonymous for world renowned coffee and wine, there’s a multitude of drinking spots, and plenty of craft beer houses and micro breweries to explore. Wellington has plenty of variety. Whether you hit a crab shack, grab a slice of pizza overlooking the bay or go a little more ‘fine dining’ – here’s a list of some of the best.
4 Outdoor Space
If you’ve spoken to anyone who’s travelled or lived in New Zealand you’ll have heard all about the outdoors. If it’s outdoors, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be able to do it in NZ. Wellington is no different. Being on the coast means you have water sports galore. Head further north if you want swell to surf, and a short drive east will open up more possibilities.
Running clubs are everywhere. At the weekend most people will be active. From sailing to SUPing, camping, biking, surfing, kayaking etc.
Wellington represents just one part of New Zealand. Driving through the country will take you from beach, to waterfall, to desert, to snow topped mountains that spring out of nowhere. It’s visually stunning. Any fans of Lord of the Rings will doubt the country being able to do the film justice. Trust me, it does, ten times over.
5 Social Scene
Wellington has been at the forefront of nightlife in New Zealand for some time. It has more 20-34 year olds than anywhere else in the country per capita and is busy all year round. As with most cities, Thursday to Saturday are the mainstay of the social week, with most places seemingly having live music regardless of venue type.
6 Cost of Living
In comparison to a lot of the world, Wellington is affordable and of a high standard for everyday purchases. You’ll also find the city enjoying a higher average salary than the rest of the country, meaning you’ll get more value for your dollar. a 2014 survey found Wellington to be 12th in the world for quality of life.
Supermarkets in comparison to the UK are pricey but the food is great quality and you’ll pay less for great wine, locally produced! Because transport links between cities are limited, it’s worth buying a car however you can do so for a much lower price.
The tax system in NZ is easy to get your head around. It was also voted second in the world in a recent study for its competitiveness. The top personal tax is 33% for income over NZ$70,000. The other end of the spectrum is as low as 10.5% on income up to $14,000. Companies and corporates are taxed at a flat rate of 28%. New Zealand also has a tax on consumption called Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is a flat 15%.
If you’re looking to live and work in New Zealand, you’ll need a job or a job offer. Generally speaking they’re allocated on a case by case basis, but the good news is, having an employer who’s willing to sponsor you will carry a lot of weight. If you’re a recruiter, you’re in demand. Many will be familiar with the process and with careful planning it can be straight forward. Here’s a link for more info.
Getting to New Zealand, depending on where you start off from can be a jaunt. The country is antipodal from the UK, so don’t expect a quick flight. Once you’re there however there is a LOT to explore. Make sure you see both the North and the South island, which both have different secrets depending on where you go and the time of year. Whether you go whale watching, glacier hiking or skydiving, there’s simply too many attractions for me to list here. Outside of this amazing country, there’s Australia, Samoa, Tonga, Indonesia, Bali, Papa New Guinea and many more!
I challenge anyone on earth not be blown away by New Zealand. The inhabitants are among the most friendly you’ll meet and the raw and breathtaking scenery has something for everyone.
There’s a warning however, if you go to NZ just for a visit, you might need to find a job so you can stay! So remember to keep this article handy.
With special thanks to Sarita and Diane from Gough Recruitment, who are currently hiring for their Wellington office.