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Home > Living & Working in New Zealand > Finding a Job

Finding a Job

Employment Prospects

NZ has a general shortage of therapists across a variety of clinical areas and geographical locations. However, some geographical areas are more popular with New Zealand resident therapists, so do not have the same staff shortages and therefore the opportunities for overseas therapists in those areas are reduced. There is a strong preference amongst employers for experienced staff. We can and have placed new graduates from overseas but recommend on most occasions that you have at least one-two years post-graduate work experience before you come here.

This is a general statement only, and the situation does change on an almost weekly basis, so once you have signed on with eNZed Paramedical, please feel free to contact us for the latest advice for the area you are considering.

Work Conditions

The standard work conditions in New Zealand are:

  • 40 hours week, normally worked 8am–4.30pm with ½ hour lunch break
  • 4 weeks paid annual leave is the new national legal minimum, as from 1 April 2007, increased from 3 weeks
  • 11 paid Public Holidays per year
  • There is also a minimum of 5 paid sick/bereavement/domestic leave days available per year, but many employers are more generous than this, depending on individual circumstances
  • Leave without pay Many employers are very open to negotiation if you need more time for special reasons, as long as they have plenty of advance warning!
  • Paid Conference Leave is normally negotiated and arranged on a case to case basis

Salaries are paid fortnightly by automatic payment into a New Zealand bank account, which you need to open before starting work.

Length of Contract

The strong preference of employers is for any overseas therapists to be appointed for contracts of 12 months or longer to permanent positions. Anything less is considered 'short term' in NZ.

There are locum posts available when an employer needs cover for a therapist going on maternity leave or other extended leave. These often arise at short notice and the availability fluctuates constantly.

Many overseas therapists, having been told there is a general shortage of therapists, anticipate being able to arrive and get a job quickly and easily via an employment agency as a bank locum. To the best of our knowledge this system just doesn't exist for allied health staff in New Zealand, principally because the relatively sparse overall population, means that it would not be feasible for any of the parties involved.

The ease of gaining a Working Holiday Visa means that many therapists plan their trip first, and worry about getting a job second. Provided you are registered, this is fine, but otherwise eNZed Paramedical strongly recommends against it, if you want to work as a therapist.

Pay

The New Zealand Health system has not had national standard pay scales. However, there is a move in this direction and the new collective contract (union agreement) has been in place since mid 2006 in most areas. The Public Service Associate (PSA) is the union that has negotiated this and more details can be found on their web site. For clinical positions they range from a minimum $40,000 for new graduates to about $56,000 for senior clinicians. On the current exchange rate $50,000 equates to around £20,000. However, therapists comment that the cost of living is lower in New Zealand, especially outside of the three big cities and that $50,000 would equate to about £26,000 pounds in buying power. Managerial posts obviously have higher salaries and are more negotiable.

Non salary benefits are usually minimal. Some employers offer travel/ relocation expense assistance. This is usually only for contracts of at least a year and is still the exception rather than the norm. A short initial period of free accommodation is more common. Reimbursement of Annual Practising Certificate fees is standard for all except very short contracts.

Preparing your CV for New Zealand employers

Many people send CV's which are only one page long. They frequently list only employing organisations, with little or no detail as to what the therapist actually did on a daily basis. They also rarely contain any information about the professional activity of the therapist outside of the work environment or much detail about professional development activities or special achievements, which are considered very important in New Zealand.

New Zealand employers are used to seeing CV's that are about 3-4 pages long and which have enough detail for them to feel that they have got to know the applicant a little from reading it. However, they should not be so long and detailed that the employer avoids reading them!

General Advice On Presentation

  • Curriculum Vitae and Resume are considered inter-changeable terms. Most New Zealanders would be more used to talking about a CV.
  • Use an attractive looking presentation format, such as those commonly found on most computer programmes. Your CV should look immaculate. However do not put it in a bulky folder—a simple plastic pocket is better for posting and filing it. Sending it to us via email is the preferred option.
  • Your CV must be signed (except for emailed copy) and dated.

Personal Information

This section has all the basic information about you. List eNZed Paramedical's details instead of your own, for address and other contact details. Employers are required to direct all communication via us rather than directly to you, at least until job offer stage. We do not release your actual contact details to them until this time.

NZ has very strict Human Rights Legislation, which means that it is not required to put your photograph, height, weight, religion, race, number of children etc on it. Most people do include their marital status and age, on the understanding that this is going to become obvious soon anyhow, and helps the employer in their plans to settle a new staff member into the local community. Similarly, it is common to list the number and ages of your children, but nothing more about them. This helps the employer be ready to tell you about local schooling at interview time.

Educational Background

In this section, list your first professional qualification first, followed by any post graduate qualifications, or other tertiary qualifications. All should have the correct title, year in which it was granted and the University or College (full name) that granted it.

Employers are not interested in your primary or secondary qualifications, especially once you are beyond the stage of seeking your first post -graduate post. Leave them off your CV. However if you are still quite young, and received any really special award/scholarship (eg: one of at least regional if not national significance) this might be worth noting because of what it infers about your dedication, commitment etc.

Work History

This is the section where the greatest differences between New Zealand and some other styles seen. List your jobs in reverse order (the first on the list should be your present or most recent job).

If you have worked for a temp. agency, name it, but also list each facility (hospital/practice/service) you worked for, the dates between which you worked there, your job title. Then write a paragraph, which describes the clinical duties you carried out there.

Example:

1 Jan 2006
– present

St George's Hospital, Tooting, London, United Kingdom
Staff Occupational Therapist (40 hours per week)

Duties include in-patient assessment and treatment of clients in the acute orthopaedic wards. Most clients have had Total Hip Replacement operations or fractures requiring surgical repair. A key part of my role is to prepare them for safe discharge from hospital. This also includes the supervision of a Certified OT Assistant.

Major Achievements and Abilities

This is where you should list any special achievements you have had in your career, such as developing a new assessment tool/service, presenting a conference paper etc. If you have developed a special skill, such as applying formal supervision techniques to other staff who report to you, describe these too. If you have had a paper published, give the full reference so that the employer could find and read it if they wish.

Professional Activities

List any professional organisations you belong to. If you have in the past, or currently hold official office in these organisations, list that too.

Personal Interests

This is included so that employers can develop some idea of you as an individual. It helps them to tell you about groups or attractions in their locality which might interest you, so that they can help you settle in quickly on arrival. Most New Zealand employers consider it their responsibility to help with this where they can, in addition to their professional role, and are an excellent source of local knowledge.

References

If you have any written references, you should attach copies of these, as well as list the authors in the body of your CV. In New Zealand, it is quite normal and acceptable to ask each employer for a written reference when you leave. We are aware that this is not so in some other countries.

Once you have signed on with eNZed Paramedical, if you would like feedback about your CV, please feel free to ask for it.

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Last Modified: 20 November 2014