Expecting Job Offer in New Zealand – Need Advice


Migrants aren’t always welcomed, or valued, for their overseas skills in New Zealand

Today’s Migrant Tale is taken from a set of questions that someone recently asked on Reddit Personnal finance

At first glance these questions seem reasonable enough, if a little naive. How many New Zealand companies would pay for a trip home once a year, and is it possible to find a reasonably priced, clean/modern apartment central to facilities in either Wellington or Auckland?

Is it wise to anticipate a New Zealand job offer without having any feel for what the salary or relocation package may be (presumably based on some misplaced concept that the NZ lifestyle makes it worth the risk) ?

Should one expect a 25% increase over what is already a good US salary, to work for a company that may value ‘the kiwi way‘ () more than how the rest of the world operates?

Overseas experience isn’t always valued as highly as you’d think in New Zealand. The country has often been cited as one in which ambition dies, and the brightest and best leave it to find rewarding careers

What would your advice be to this American civil engineer, working in the energy sector and hoping to negotiate a salary of NZ $140K+?

Hello Everyone,

I currently live in the US and recently interviewed for a firm in New Zealand. The interview went extremely well and I am expecting an offer over the next week. This is the first time I will have ever worked abroad and the position is a permanent position rather than temporary contract. The firm is extremely large (one of the largest engineering firms in the world) and I really liked what they had to say regarding the position and the future vision for the team I’d be joining. We never once discussed salary expectations or my existing salary. My questions are as follows:

  1. Is it standard to not discuss salary prior to being made an offer?
  2. Is there typically a standard % salary increase that one should seek when being asked to relocate internationally for a position? I am currently paid rather well in the US but that is due to me being in a very niche industry. I would be working in the same industry in NZ but I am not sure if my current salary is considered high with regards to NZ salaries.
  3. My hope is to get a salary bump of 25% over my existing salary in order to justify such a big move but I am not sure if that is unreasonable. This can go down if they are willing to cover housing but that is unlikely as this is a permanent position. I am expecting a pay bump at my current firm in December which would make the salary difference 18% between the salary I am seeking with the new firm and my salary at my existing firm this December.
  4. I would like to negotiate flights home every year. Is this standard or too much to ask?
  5. Do companies typically offer a relocation bonus? Would it be wise to ask for one if not offered it?
  6. Considering I am moving so far away from friends and family, would asking for more vacation time due to travel time be acceptable?
  7. Are there other things that should be offered or asked for?

I am new to this and am extremely excited about the position but I wanted to make sure that I set myself up the best I can if I leave a firm I’m very comfortable at. Any advice is appreciated!…


Some Responses

The above question was also cross posted to /r/newzealand. However, we’ve selected responses from /r/personalfinance for this article.

This is because Reddit New Zealand has a strong censorship policy, and down-vote brigades that stifle negative commentary. Much of that control is perpetrated by the members of /r/area64 (**a hidden sub that brigades, trolls and undermines threads on /r/newzealand, subverting discussion to its own agenda). E2NZ.org played a part in exposing the subversive behavior of /r/area64 by publishing screenshots that were leaked to /r/newzealand.

Here’s a selection of replies from /r/personalfinance

Thei5Guy: So you are interested in a permanent position, but you expect them to cover your flights home once a year?

Companies do commonly cover moving expenses – usually $3000-10,000 depending on circumstance – with the agreement that if you work at the company less than 2 years ( or 5 years, or whatever they choose ) then you pay back all or a portion of the moving expense.

Why would they give you double the vacation time just because you’re relocating? There are probably dozens of people in NZ who would take the position for no extra vaca time – but it’s worth asking.

Another issue you’ll run into – since you mention you “don’t want to take a financial hit” and you mention moving to another firm here in the us can easily net you 10-15% ………Well, NZD is 37% lower than USD and the NZ cost of living is 12-15% higher than in the US …

So for you to feel like you’re not “taking a hit” – they will probably need to offer you around 52% higher salary than they would offer to anyone living in NZ ( and so on )….

Regular14u: NZ is a low wage, high tax, high COL country. Most everything is very expensive due to it’s location and small population. The housing stock is shit and very expensive. Road network is third world with aggressive and rude drivers. It is stunning in its natural beauty.

Kiwis are also notorious for their poor treatment of foreigners, especially highly skilled foreigners in the work place. Do a search for “tall poppy syndrome”, it’s pervasive in NZ.


E2NZ.org logs show around 8,000+ back links to reddit. Here’s a screenshot of some of them

Reddit back links to E2NZ.org, including some from /r/area64

You may also be interested in

New Zealand Will Give You a Free Trip If You Agree to a Job Interview” and The LookSee Wellington Privacy Fail
5 Things You Should Know About New Zealand
The Reason Why NZ Needs Migrants Is Because Kiwis Use Too Much Drugs, Poor Work Ethic
Reddit NZ: “What Sucks About Living in New Zealand?”
Migrant Tales – New Migrant Doctor Laments 3rd World Housing, Says So Bad Will Leave NZ

Migrant Tales – American stuck in NZ, there is no summer in Wellington

Migrant Tales – Hated American

Migrant Tale – American Migrant Says Nice Scenery, Shame about the Rest

Has Trump’s Disorder Descended on New Zealand? “No Left Wing Tossers”. Peter Thiel and Stuart Jolly

And last, but not least, the very popular Migrant Tales series

21 thoughts on “Expecting Job Offer in New Zealand – Need Advice

  1. I will most honestly advise you not to come here.
    Do not get trapped in NZ like many other migrants. Please keep your mind open, there are way better options for an educated person like yourself. This is a very, very, very, rural, small minded community. Very poor tolerance towards newcomers, and outsiders. Please think twice.

    • Also, please have a look at the previous article from a British migrant: Migrant Tales – “New Zealanders have got to be the best marketeers in the world! Life is so different compared to how it is portrayed!”
      That is spot on, and so true.

  2. From talk with other people and even kiwis who have worked overseas it is far easier to get a job overseas than it is in New Zealand. Why not stay out in the world where you can spread you wings than returning here and being reduced to the bare basics in your career. 5 years of working in the UK I discovered talents that I didn’t know I had including working with people in different forms in various occupations. Since returning I had to start at the bottom, work for supervisors who had either not worked for or had no ambition in their jobs and made foes with working hard and being energetic. Is this what somebody either wants to come or return to?

    • Agreed. I’ve worked for 13 years in NZ and each workplace was exactly the same – Each has incompetent, barely educated ‘Managers’ who got to their positions simply by outlasting their peers or sucking up to the boss, and they would be the people who would give the hardest work away to employees while they did the easiest tasks and were regularly on Facebook. Work culture consisted of time wasting ‘meetings’, putting down the people who actually work hard, and rewarding company ‘suck ups’ while bullying employees at every opportunity so that Managers get to keep their false bravado and ego stroked – No one bothered speaking out against any of it. Tall Poppy syndrome at its finest. I am so glad that I am OUT!

      • Yup. Another aspect of New Zealand work is when you think outside the square and come up with great results hoping the practise might improve, change or improvise things to a new or greater level. But only to see it get absorbed by the normal tide and everything flattens out back to normal. Also back to square one and the status quo.

  3. Don’t expect anything from nz they will want there pound of flesh and then some
    They certainly won’t pay for experts because they think they know everything
    As for wages expect a cut and everything thing is more expensive
    Otherwise great country
    My advice is earn lots else cause you will need every penny
    Cause they will try and fleece you of everything you have
    Don’t be a plumber in nz

  4. Be very careful! Do your homework! The salaries are usually quite a bit lower here, especially adjusting for cost of living. So if you really want to come, negotiate hard for a high salary and whatever else you want.

    However, based on my experience, I’d strongly advise you to stay put. My experience of the work environment (admittedly, not engineering) has been awful. A real dedication to cutting down anyone with initiative, a preference for Kiwis and Brits, and a growing anti-Americanism. Your experience might end up being different, but I wouldn’t wager in your favor.

    • Kiwi’s like Brits? I am British and I have not had a proper job in almost ten years. I am well traveled and New Zealand is the only place I have ever been to where I am discriminated against simply because of my place of birth. The worst offenders are usually people born in NZ of European decent (crosses all social classes). That is the truth. Sorry, about that. And yes, I am white too.

      Being British, it took a while for it is sink in that I was actually being discriminated against. I never expected it, and it has affected me deeply.

      Discrimination by many (not all) kiwis against anyone not white and/or not born in New Zealand should be expected. Anticipate it.

      I never list my British citizenship on my NZ job applications, unless they ask for it, and I never include my two British degrees. I use the social policy degree I got in Wellington. When it comes the interview, my accent, oops…

      My other half is an engineer, just like the OP… Engineering is relative good money, but she is still under NZD100k (she is not a Kiwi either). The most important thing about engineering, is that you are usually surrounded by skilled and open-minded foreigners who are also in the same boat as you. The skilled Kiwis in these workplaces are not a majority, and they cannot get the xenophobia to stick.

      Regardless, I think that New Zealand has shit itself. Today I saw a car in one of the Wellington city centres (less than 300m from the central police station) farting, wheel spinning and drifting all over the rain-wet road surface. The area had loads of normal people in the vicinity just walking from A to B, etc. Nobody got excited. It’s normal.

      We are saving for our escape. I am re-training overseas in Asia, to see if that is better. It will take us another six months to get enough money to pay for this training and a small scouting trip. It will cover two countries, because I want to be careful. Doing your homework is important 🙂

    • I forgot to say in my NZ-is-also-anti-British comment, that I agree with you, re the anti-American sentiment here. Certainly, it is much more visible than the anti-UK thing.

      • Sounds about right, Bottom-End. I think my place of work has a long history of Brits being in charge, so it’s less palpable. But I have no doubt you’re right.

  5. My only comment about a New Zealand job is that you go in with excitement and high expectations only to discover that is disorganised and at best very ordinary. You spend most of the time having to create your own motivation and job reward as the job and NZ company will not do that for you. Afte 5 years of working in a company doing extra hours and days plus keeping my same team for 5 years while others had a high turnover I still received no real thanks for the work I did and left. Compare this, I have started a new job with a new role with some skills to learn. After 2 months of not yet starting the role, I was told I should have done everything myself from a manager who took a holiday in the first month of the job when things needed to be organised. I had actually spent time trying to get things ready when nothing seemed to be happening. One of the managers had made a frank admission that they hadn’t placed a high priority on my area of work. In the UK where I lived for 5 years every job that I worked in had training, guidance or a lead in in the first 2-4 weeks to help guide the new worker…..

  6. Best advice is go online and check out prices of various items you use ,the biggest food retailers are Countdown and New world supermarkets ,food is one of the biggest rip offs in N.Z ,a pound of butter costs around $4 U.S a couple of cheap steaks which your dog might turn its nose up at around $12 U.S and on it goes ,the government here protects large corporations ,they actually are fully aware of the fact that many people employed full time can not afford the basic necessities in N.Z for this reason the government gives people money to pay their bills ,it’s true and you couldn’t make this up rather than reign in the corporate monopoly rip off companies they just give weekly handouts to people,it’s called working for families hahaha

  7. And the guy that wrote the N.Z dollar is 37% less than the U.S dollar please feel free to come see me if you would like to change some N.Z currency at this rate

  8. Thanks for posting. After five years living on New Zealand I like to give you my advice based on my experiences. Pls Remember this… the process of getting resided Is a very expensive one. I was fortunate enough to had financial support, a (middle class) job and a good employer. (He came from Manchester by the way). I imagine that whith your professional background you are in a better position than me. However my feeling is that once you get over the first thrills of the ‘Clean Green LOTR Paradise.’, the Kiwi ‘politeness’. Reality kicks in. Once you have driven around the Island and spent some time, do you ‘cheap’ grocery shopping (with friendly kiwi’s who try to kill you for a place to park their financed God), you will find out that live is a drain of money and full of unpleasant surprises. Be very aware of your spending. Draw a red line on your savings account and before you anticipate to reach it, go back to the US.

  9. I suspect that he may have interviewed with the headquarters. My first question would be to enquire how much contact he had with the people in New Zealand with whom he would be working.

    I suspect that he might be in the petroleum-engineering sector because that is the only engineering activity taking place in New Zealand on an international scale. Anecdotally, these companies are better places to work and have better working conditions and salaries because overseas management determines salaries etc. Usually, these expat type assignments pay well, as they have to be commensurate to the top locales to be competitive. However, I am speculating without specifics. The salary sounds high for engineering in New Zealand, but it does not hurt to ask. The flights back home once a year are not as common as they once were even at rich companies like Credit Suisse.

    I would be reluctant to go to New Zealand in any case. He can insist on an expat contract subject, but I still would not do it. If he wants to do a stint outside the United States, I could think of numerous places that offer more.

  10. My advice to you is to stay where you are, if you have a stable job and prospects in the US, or move to Europe. If you want to come to New Zealand and buy a home here, bring at least $1million US with you if your job is in a major city. If you are lucky, you’ll still have a small amount of it left after all your costs are met. New Zealand is incredibly expensive for absolutely everything, as you will find out looking around this excellent, accurate site. Kiwi bosses want only one thing you can provide; PROFIT! For this reason, you will need to keep your expectations in check. $140,000+ in New Zealand, for one persons salary, is unlikely unless you are a CEO or similar. Even great engineers here can, and do find themselves on $60k – $80k per year, with only legally required holidays and employee rights. Been there! Done that! Flights home?, only if you are the CEO, or COO or senior partner! People here generally don’t ask about salary in the application process as they fear it will wreck their chances of getting the job. I always ask. I don’t often get the job, but at least it’s better than signing up and finding out you only got hired because you were cheap. Those on high salaries, and immigrant workers are not liked by Kiwis because the majority of the country is paid way less than $48k per year, and much of the population is living in poverty. People here hate foreigners, especially Americans. Although they kiss your ass in front of you – they stab you in the back the moment it’s turned, and for that reason, immigrants have a lot of trouble assimilating with the local, ignorant, red-neck population! Consider crime. New Zealand is violence and crime ridden and at some point, everyone here is the victim of a crime, often 80 or 90 year olds. I have been burglarised 3 times, and attacked in the street once. I am now 60. If moving here to New Zealand, be sure you have an escape plan. So many poor, poor people get financially devastated and then stuck here when all their money has been sucked up by Kiwis. Good luck. Choose well.

    • I don’t disagree with some of your points but the salary you listed is just not right. A university graduate with a BE can expect about $60k starting salary. And once they get their professional accreditation 100k+, even for average engineers.

      So if anything, 140k sounds a bit low if they are head-hunting someone from overseas. But it might be a technical role. Senior management should expect 200k+. IPENZ publish salary data every year.

  11. Sadly I agree with Regular 14u. Don’t let it put you off but you will be coming for the experience and not to get rich, have lots of holidays, have bonuses and certainly not decent housing unless you’re willing to pay a small fortune. Think hard. Been here nearly 9 years and live rurally so am managing ok financially but have been looking at places for my kids in Welly – horrifying 😦

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