Career advice downgrades nursing's job prospects

3 February 2015

Nursing has dropped a notch from being a 'good' job prospect to a 'fair' one in the latest Occupation Outlook report released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Outlook reports are designed to help young people choose their career by rating their chances of getting a job in 50 key occupations after completing their studies as either 'limited', 'fair' or 'good'.

Back in 2013 the Outlook report still rated the chances of getting a job in nursing on graduating as 'good' though the graduate employment trend was on the way down. This year Occupation Outlook 2015 has dropped nursing job prospects to just 'fair' for nurses due to graduate in the next three to five years.

Outlook 2015 says longer term prospects for nursing are looking better due to the "increased life expectancy of the general population and the aging nursing workforce in New Zealand". "Changes in New Zealand’s population size and struc­ture will see a nursing shortage of 15,000 nurses by 2035," says the Ministry document. It also points out that experienced registered nurses remain on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list so the Government was still actively encouraging skilled nurses to come and work in New Zealand.

But in the short-term, Outlook 2015 noted that online job vacancies for registered nurses had dropped by 25 per cent between June 2013 to June 2014, compared with an upswing of 16.5 percent for all skilled job vacancies online during the same time period. Two years ago, the Outlook reported an increase in online nursing job vacancies that was substantially higher than the national trend for other skilled jobs.

Outlook continues to rate a nurses' potential income as 'medium', which is the same rating given to architects, plumbers, school teachers, police, graphic designers and journalists.

The job prospects for other health professionals remain 'good', including dentists, doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, psychologists and health care assistants. The income prospects for all these were rated as 'high', except for health care assistants (one of only five of the 50 occupations rated as having a 'low' prospect income) and pharmacists, who were rated as medium (with interns usually paid $35,000 and fully qualified pharmacists $70,000).

Other occupations rated alongside nursing as having 'fair' job prospects after training were school teachers, mechanics, architects, plumbers, lawyers, truck drivers, graphic designers, and police.

The full 2015 Occupation Outlook report is available here.