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Top 10 most popular jobs of 2020

Infographic: Top 10 jobs 2020

The top 10 most searched jobs on careers.govt.nz in 2020 have a strong focus on service roles.

Here's a list of the most searched jobs on careers.govt.nz in 2020. Particularly popular are policing, teaching and health sector jobs that help people. Five of the top 10 jobs have skill shortages but there are plenty of jobs with better opportunities that aren’t on the list.

Research by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) showed that students chose similar popular jobs as their future career choice. This highlights the need for greater awareness about the range of lesser-known careers available.

Top 10 most searched jobs on careers.govt.nz in 2020

1. Police officer

Police officer was also the most popular job in 2018 and 2019.

Police officers prevent and solve crime, keep the peace, and respond to criminal activities and emergencies.

2. Registered nurse

Registered nurse became the second most popular job, overtaking psychologist.

Registered nurses assess, treat and support people who are sick, disabled or injured, in hospitals, clinics, rest homes, and nursing homes.

3. Psychologist

Psychologist remained in the top three.

Psychologists diagnose, treat, and work to prevent a wide range of psychological and general health problems affecting adults, adolescents, and children.

4. Paramedic

Paramedic moved up from sixth place in 2019, overtaking accountant and secondary school teacher.

Paramedics assess and treat people who are seriously ill or injured, and transport them to hospital if necessary.

5. Accountant

Accountant remained as the fifth most popular job.

Accountants provide accounting services to companies, organisations and individuals. Accountants also prepare financial statements and forms, and advise clients on financial aspects of business.

6. Electrician

Electrician moved up from last place in 2019.

Electricians test, install, maintain and repair electrical systems and equipment.

7. Secondary school teacher

Secondary school teacher was still a favourite, moving down from fourth place in 2019.

Secondary school teachers plan, prepare and teach one or more subjects to students between the ages of 13 and 18.

8. Architect

Architect remained popular, moving down from seventh place in 2019.

Architects plan, design and advise on the construction and alteration of buildings and other structures.

9. Early childhood teacher

Early childhood teacher remained at number nine.

Early childhood teachers educate and care for young children in kindergartens, kōhanga reo or childcare centres. Kōhanga reo kaiako also help children learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori (culture and customs).

10. Real estate agent

New to the list, real estate agent had the largest increase in searches compared to 2019.

Real estate agents arrange property and house sales for clients.

Job opportunities for the top 10

The top 10 jobs have opportunities ranging from average to good. Five of the top jobs – accountant, early childhood teacher, electrician, clinical psychologist and registered nurse (aged care) – are on Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists, which means they are in high demand.  

Jobs opportunities in skill shortage industries

While several jobs with skill shortages appear in the top 10 list, there are plenty of other jobs with skill shortages in industries such as construction, food and fibre and information technology. For example, there are better opportunities for roles such as software developer (software engineer) than police officer as the profession is larger and has a shortage of workers.

Find out more about jobs in industries with skill shortages.

Challenging stereotypical career aspirations

Research commissioned by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in 2019 found that the majority of young school children aspired to a narrow range of stereotypical career choices. These included the top 10 jobs of police officer and teacher plus other high-profile roles such as sportsperson and social media influencer.

Viewed alongside the top 10 list the results highlighted the need for greater awareness about not only well-known and respected careers but also the huge variety of lesser-known careers available in New Zealand.

Nina Ive, manager strategic engagement, explains what the TEC is doing to increase career choice options.

"Our new Inspiring the Future programme aims to raise career aspirations by introducing school students to everyday workers in their community at an interactive event. Students learn about different jobs and why the role models love doing them, as well as how they got into the job and any challenges they faced along the way.

"People who volunteer to be a role model for Inspiring the Future not only give back to the local community but are also a positive inspiration for young people."

Related article

Volunteer for Inspiring the Future

A female student talks to a female role model at an ITF event

Sign up to be a volunteer role model for young people at Inspiring the Future events.

Updated 24 Feb 2021