Science Jobs Overview

Science Jobs Overview


Science is about understanding our world and how it works. The work that scientists do can help improve people’s lives, lead to profitable industries and reduce our impact on the environment.

There are lots of different kinds of scientists in New Zealand, doing a wide range of work in areas such as medical research, advanced materials development, seismology (earthquake science), ecology, chemistry and sustainability.


There are three broad categories of scientific research:

  • Basic research aimed at increasing our understanding of how the world around us works
  • Applied research, which is more focused on finding solutions to defined problems 
  • Research & development (R&D) using applied science to make new products and improve processes


Will I get a job?

Demand for people with science qualifications is generally good, but varies from industry to industry:

  • People with relevant engineering and technology qualifications are in demand, particularly for R&D roles in industry
  • Food scientists and technologists, environmental scientists and geologists have a better chance of finding work than many other disciplines
  • There are limited opportunities for scientists doing basic or ‘pure’ science, as there is less funding for this kind of research
  • There are more applied science roles available in research organisations and in companies, but availability varies significantly depending on the type of science
  • Your chances of finding a job as a forensic scientist or technician are poor as there is an oversupply of people qualified to work in this small industry


What do I need to study?

  • Most scientists in research roles have a postgraduate degree (generally a PhD or sometimes a Master's degree)
  • You may need to have a degree (and possibly a Master's degree) to get work as a technician or research assistant
  • Manufacturing and processing companies employ some diploma-qualified science technicians


Key secondary school subjects:

  • Maths, especially Calculus
  • Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Statistics & Modelling
  • English
  • Digital Technologies, especially Computer Science and Programming standards, and other Technology subjects

Job roles in this industry

  • Agricultural or Horticultural Consultant

    Agricultural or Horticultural Consultant

    Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Biomedical Scientist

    Biomedical Scientist
  • Biosecurity Officer

    Biosecurity Officer

    Biotechnologist

    Biotechnologist

    Chemist

    Chemist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist
  • Ecologist

    Ecologist

    Environmental Scientist

    Environmental Scientist

    Environmental/Urban Planner

    Environmental/Urban Planner

    Farm Vet

    Farm Vet
  • Food Safety (QA) Officer

    Food Safety (QA) Officer

    Food Scientist

    Food Scientist

    Forensic Scientist

    Forensic Scientist

    Forester

    Forester
  • Forestry Scientist

    Forestry Scientist

    Geologist

    Geologist

    Geophysicist

    Geophysicist

    Geospatial (GIS) Analyst

    Geospatial (GIS) Analyst
  • Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician

    Medical Laboratory Scientist

    Medical Laboratory Scientist

    Microbiologist

    Microbiologist
  • Physicist or Medical Physicist

    Physicist or Medical Physicist

    Product Evaluator

    Product Evaluator

    Soil Scientist

    Soil Scientist

    Statistician

    Statistician

Companies and organisations in this industry

  • Zoetis
    Zoetis
    Ballance Agri-Nutrients
    Ballance Agri-Nutrients
    Canterbury Health Laboratories
    Canterbury Health Laboratories
    Canterbury Scientific
    Canterbury Scientific
  • Scion
    Scion
    Plant & Food Research
    Plant & Food Research
    Ravensdown
    Ravensdown
    Hawke's Bay Regional Council
    Hawke's Bay Regional Council
  • Dunedin City Council
    Dunedin City Council

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