Best cities in New Zealand to work

The Top New Zealand Cities to Work In

One of the most important things that comes up when you’re looking for a new job is the location. The location determines factors such as salary, accessibility, and living conditions, so it should definitely be considered before one makes the decision to accept a job offer.

This is why we thought it would be helpful to discuss the New Zealand towns and cities that offer some of the most and best job opportunities, while also factoring the cost of living, as well as things like recreational activities and good schools. Without further ado, here is our list of the best New Zealand towns and cities to work in:

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch

We will give you a brief description of each one and why it made our list.


The top city to work in New Zealand is by far Auckland. Auckland is situated on the North Island and it’s the most populous city in the country with 1.67 million residents, thus being a big urban centre that quite naturally provides its people with countless of job offers.

It leads the country with approximately 11 job ads for every 1,000 people, which is almost three times more than the next city on our list. It’s definitely the easiest to find a job in Auckland. The median salary is around 108,000 NZD with the lowest median being about 27,300 NZD and the highest median – 482,000 NZD.

However, what you should also consider before choosing Auckland are rent prices and home prices. Rent is generally high and single people with lower median income might not be able to afford their own apartment. Since Auckland is a metropolitan city, it doesn’t offer that many rental houses and buying a house would cost upward 1.2 million NZD.


Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is much smaller than Auckland and more peaceful, so many people choose the comfort of Wellington’s suburbia in comparison to the hustle and bustle of Auckland. If you’re married with children, then perhaps Wellington is a better choice for you.

There are, however, fewer job listings than in Auckland due to the size of Wellington, which has a population of 212,700 people. Still, Wellington actually offers higher pay. The average salary is 72,993 NZD, while the average Auckland salary is 72,938 NZD. What’s more, the annual salary increase is higher in Wellington.

In terms of housing, Wellington is more affordable than Auckland if you compare rent and house prices versus salary. To be fair, Wellington might be the best city to work in, but Auckland simply has more job opportunities.


The next city on our list is Christchurch. The charming city in the heart of Canterbury offers great wages, only slightly less behind Auckland’s (71,625 NZD). Some consider it the best of both worlds as it boasts of competitive wages, but it’s not that busy with a population of just about 400,000 people, so you can find many peaceful neighbourhoods.

The average house price (upward 700-800 K NZD) is also much lower than those in Auckland (upward 1.2 million NZD) and Wellington (upward 939 K NZD). Considering the salary to house price ratio, Christchurch is the best for people willing to permanently relocate there.

The unemployment rate of the Canterbury area is the second lowest in the country, which is another plus for Christchurch job seekers. You should be, however, aware that the job listings are significantly fewer than those in Wellington, although Christchurch has twice the population of the New Zealand capital.

The devastating earthquake of 2011 slowed down Christchurch’s economic growth as the city had to be partially rebuilt, so that’s another thing to keep in mind when deciding on a place to move to for work.

The Big Three or Not the Big Three, That is the Question

The top three cities for work in New Zealand are Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. The other cities and towns on the list are further behind in terms of salary, and some are even way behind in the salary to real estate price ratio.

Still, you don’t have to limit yourself to choosing one of “the big three” because New Zealand has a lot more to offer. There are growing industries in places such as Queenstown, Dunedin, and Hamilton, where you can sometimes find better-paying jobs that could afford you a nice house and a significant amount of money left for recreational activities.

Another thing you should know is that the IT industry in New Zealand is one of the fastest-growing ones in the country, and it’s also the one that offers the highest mobility. You can easily land an IT job that doesn’t require you to live in the area, especially now that many companies have their workers work from home, so you can simply choose a town you like better.

What you can also do is check which jobs are in high demand. Some regions are in dire need of certain professions, so you might be better paid in a city outside the big three than there. Make sure you know all these things before you make the important choice.