Working and not working in Auckland

For me, working in Auckland has been positively patchy.

My NZ job hunt started off promisingly enough before I left home; I used LinkedIn to make valuable recruitment contacts and set up meetings for my first week in the country. I had a phone interview with another recruiter and was feeling buoyed by the prospects that lay ahead. I was happy to consider any kind of office temp work, but if I could make use of my marketing/comms background, even better.

During these early conversations the resident recruiters warned me that arriving in mid Oct didn’t leave much time before the Christmas lull over the holidays, which lasts until the end of Jan. Therefore I was pretty relieved to have an interview in my second week for a contract through until the end of Feb, which paid well and seemed to suit my experience in the UK to a tea. After a 20 minute interview, it didn’t go my way and has lingered as an unwelcome NZ ‘what if’ or ‘if only’. A completely wasted thought but it doesn’t stop you beating yourself with it.

Things looked up after another couple of weeks when I was hired for holiday cover by one of the recruitment companies I was registered with (probably taking pity on me by this point!) and I worked for two weeks straight on new client proposals. As well as being my first experience of working in NZ, this was also my first taste of the private sector. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and met some great people.

From there, my consultant found a digital marketing role at Auckland’s tourism and events agency, helping to launch their new website. I was thrilled to be offered this position and relieved that it took me through until Christmas. I was glad to put some of my comms experience and it was perfect for doing some Auckland research.

I met more great people and was there for a team-building treasure hunt and through the Christmas festivities. My month long contract ended just before the break and I struggled on the job hunt again through January. Kiwis take a long Christmas break (like summer hols in the UK), so it’s slim pickings at the start of the year. I am relieved to have started another short digital marketing contract this week that will hopefully take us through to the end of our stay in the city.

Being a temp isn’t easy – new faces, offices and systems can be tiring – but I’ve found the periods when I haven’t been working harder. It’s difficult to ‘make the most of every day’ when you’re feeling useless, skint and self-indulgent. Conversely (and luckily!), my partner Rob has sailed through Auckland, finding work as soon as we arrived and continuing on contract extensions.

I think it would have been easier to travel NZ while using Auckland as a base for the year to be able to commit to longer job opportunities. I’m also reminding myself that this trip isn’t about working and, in many ways, Auckland is poles apart from the rest of the country we came to experience. Who knows what’s in store when we move onto Wellington and I’ll approach it as positively as I can.

If you’ve had a similar experience or have any Q’s, please comment below.


Tips & observations about working and looking for work in Auckland:

  • There are plenty of good recruitment agencies and I’d register with as many as you can. I have found Madison, OCG and Gaulter Russell to be the most effective.
  • Auckland offices are diverse places – there are heaps of Brits and other migrants.
  • Have reliable references – I’ve been v.lucky to have previous managers with saintly patience at filling in forms and responding to emails.
  • Friday afternoon is drinks time in the office (in private companies anyway).

Related stuff:

  • Beyond Blighty: I found this blog post and its comments about finding working in OZ reassuring while on the job hunt
  • Useful info about finding work and list of recruitment agencies
  • The Guardian: Working your way around NZ – a few years old but something food for thought

4 thoughts on “Working and not working in Auckland

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog. I think it’s pretty tough trying to find work overseas. It was definitely harder than I expected. But we’re both proof that it’s possible. You just have to put in a lot of time and effort and stay positive!

  2. I’m moving over in March and sounds like we have similar experience. I’m happy to see you have had some good success and that it’s been relevant to your prior marketing/comms experience. We’re heading to Wellington and the slight nerves are setting in now but I’m excited. Love finding blogs like these to identify with.

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