Relocating to the regions? Here's what you need to consider

There are many great things about living in regional New Zealand. The lack of traffic, great outdoor opportunities and, generally, lower property prices than in the city make for an attractive lifestyle package.

There is also a pressing labour shortage throughout many regions, which are crying out for workers across a wide range of industries and skillsets.

With all these factors in the job seeker’s favour, is it time to finally say goodbye to the daily city grind and make the move to the regions?

Why move?

Moving to the regions doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your career goals. Many of New Zealand’s largest industries, particularly those in the primary sector, have their roots in our regional centres, and are crying out for workers right from unskilled labour to senior management.

There are many benefits to taking your career to the regions, including:

  • Increased and more varied professional opportunities, particularly if you’re called upon to fill numerous roles which is valuable to growing your skillsets.

  • A significant improvement to your work/life balance. Swapping a long daily slog up Auckland’s southern motorway for a five-minute scenic drive, bike ride or walk? Sign us up.

  • The opportunity for new experiences and expand your networks in new areas of the country, or even of your industry.

  • You may be asked by your company to return to the city regularly or sporadically - perfect for getting your city break and favourite flat white cafe break (note: the regions do have great coffee too).

  • Who says you have to give up your city job at all? Modern technology means more people are taking their careers, phones and laptops to a place where a more appealing lifestyle beckons and simply working remotely for part of all their working week.

What’s the big picture?

Moving away from your city home can bring many unexpected lifestyle benefits for you, and your partner and/or your family. On the other hand, if these don’t appeal (think, small town nightlife), the move doesn’t need to be permanent and can simply act as a springboard to your future goals back in the city.

Whatever the case, take time to consider the direction of your career path and what goals you want to achieve with this move. 

  • How long do you want to work at this level for within the company that you’re moving for, or that has hired you? What level do you ultimately see yourself and how do you get there?

  • Investigate the potential for growth, both in terms of your career and of the company. If you hit a ceiling, are there other opportunities in the same or other industries for you within the region?

  • What skills do you need to gain from your regional job in order to set yourself up for the next step, wherever that may be?

  • Does spending a few years in a regional satellite office set you up for better and brighter things in the city? Then just enjoy the experience, knowing you’ll be back some day.

Research your future (or current) employer, or the job market

Picking up sticks and moving yourself to small(er) town New Zealand is not necessarily a small deal, particularly if you’re taking a family with you, so make sure it’s the right one for all of you. Whether you’re taking up a job with a company new to you or transferring with your current employer, you should thoroughly investigate what you’re going to be arriving to each day.

  • Spend time in your new workplace before you commit to the move.

  • Get a good grasp on the workplace culture, which could be vastly different to where you’re coming from (which, of course, could be quite appealing). 

  • Get to know your future colleagues. If you’re new to a town, workmates may be more important than they otherwise would for getting your new life established.

  • Are you moving without a job offer? Ensure you have a thorough grasp on the local job market and start networking before you arrive. 

Research your new home

Quite aside from the job itself are all the considerations about how you’ll make this work in daily life. Ensure you research:

  • If you’re taking the whole family, research property/rental prices and options, school zones, lifestyle requirements such as parks or beaches, and employment options for your partner if you have one. Does all this gel well with the reasons why you’re taking the job?

  • The cost of living compared to your new pay packet. If this move means a significant change to your standard of living, even if it’s just until your career starts moving up, then make sure your partner, and family if you have one, is 100% on board. 

Take a risk

Moving, whether it be for work or otherwise, can be very stressful but also very worthwhile. Ultimately life is too short to be stuck in a job you feel bored in, so making this move could be the best thing you ever did. And if it doesn’t work out, then the bright lights of the city will always be there waiting for you, but you’ll be richer for the experiences you’ve gained.