How easy is it to get a job in the pharmaceutical industryin New Zealand at the moment?
October 12, 2011 5:08 AM   Subscribe

How easy is it to get a job in the pharmaceutical industry in New Zealand at the moment?

I am currently employed by a large pharmaceutical company in Ireland and will have the option to take voluntary redundancy soon. I was thinking about moving to New Zealand for a year and getting a job in a lab there.
1) Are there many jobs of this kind over there?
2) is it realistic to just move there first and then look or would I need an offer before I go?

I'm 31 and have 5 years experience and a masters degree in chemistry
posted by drugstorefrog to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Best answer: 1. I'm not sure if any of these match your skillset, but the NZ Long Term Skill Shortage List gives "Hospital Pharmacist (251511) Industrial Pharmacist (251512) Retail Pharmacist (251513)" as areas of shortage.

2. Your visa options are here. I was under the impression that you would need to have a job offer, but it looks as though there is a job search visa, which you might qualify for.

More info here, I'm at work so can't spend too much time on this.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:44 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What kind of jobs? I'm assuming you're not actually a pharmacist because they rarely work for actual pharmaceutical companies, but some kind of research scientist or lab technician? There isn't the same pharmaceutical industry in NZ that is in Ireland but there are some jobs doing drug design and development, often in Universities or associated with them. Auckland University has a really good medicinal chemistry department, for example, and they have links to both big pharma and to various biotech companies as well as the academic stuff. Also your skills may be transferable to a different industry or different field of research. NZ is particularly big on primary industries and research associated with them more than manufacturing, and the food industry in general may be a good place to look (definitely check out Fonterra, HortReseach and AgResearch if this is at all applicable).

I'm not sure what it's like now but not that long ago was a good place to look for jobs, including in the science industry, and you should research specific companies and industries that are over there and potentially able to hire you.
posted by shelleycat at 9:45 AM on October 12, 2011

(I think my last sentence was kind of confusing, should have been split into two after the second comma. I'm a kiwi living in Ireland and have chemist friends in NZ that work for the places I've mentioned above, for whatever that's worth).
posted by shelleycat at 10:01 AM on October 12, 2011

Response by poster: The kind of jobs I would be looking for are QA type jobs. I work with GCs and HPLCs a lot in my current job. I know that Ireland has a freakishly high number of these kind of jobs because of the tax breaks we give American companies and was not expecting the same in NZ.
Cheers for the answers, they are really helpfull.
posted by drugstorefrog at 10:38 AM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: I work with GCs and HPLCs a lot in my current job.

I suspected as much. The chemist friends I referred to above also used these technologies, although possibly in ways you currently don't. There is a growing metabolomics field in NZ which would be worth looking into if you're interested in that, and QA type stuff is definitely around in both food industries and academic/pharmaceutical areas. It will help if you're willing to be flexible. NZ is small so people tend to do lots of different things rather than focus on one niche. Definitely look into the CRIs as well as Universities and industry. The divide between industry and academia is often blurred in NZ, quite different to here in Ireland. I know there is some pharma stuff around too so probably do some web searching to see what companies you recognise.

I think it's worth contacting companies and people directly (email is good) as well as looking for actual jobs being advertised. If nothing else you'll get a better idea of where to look for those advertisements and for how much people are hiring. It may be that no one is hiring right now (and I doubt you'll get any kind of relocation costs regardless) given the current bad state that science funding in NZ is in. But it also may be that I'm overly pessimistic because I recently escaped, so looking at job ads and emailing people in your industry over there is a good way to start.

I don't know anything about the visa situation, but NZ is generally more accepting of qualified people than, say, the UK, and I worked with several Irish people in the CRIs. So I assume it's possible. Also the NZ government is very good about putting info on the web, as shown by the link Infinite jest posted, and you can generally trust the information they give (the tld is restricted so is a good sign).
posted by shelleycat at 1:00 PM on October 12, 2011

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