Small occupation size and low turnover mean opportunities scarce
Chances of getting a job as a curator are poor because:
- it is a fairly small occupation, with fewer than 400 workers, and few full-time jobs available
- people tend to stay in the role for a long time, which limits vacancies. Some vacancies arise at senior level when experienced curators leave for roles overseas.
According to the Census, 459 curators worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Willingness to volunteer or move for work may increase chances
You can increase your chances of getting a curator job if you:
- volunteer at museums, which gives you experience and can lead to paid work
- are adaptable and willing to move for work. Curators usually start off by getting experience at small or regional museums or galleries, before getting work at larger organisations.
More roles for specialised curators
Opportunities are best for experienced curators who have knowledge of:
- contemporary New Zealand art and Māori and Pacific art because galleries and museums often focus on these areas
- digital data collections, such as film and music files, which are becoming increasingly important.
Types of employers varied
Half of curators work in museums, with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington being the largest employer. Curators may also work for:
- art galleries
- auction houses
- historic sites
- local councils (overseeing public arts policies and projects)
- government agencies such as the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, or Creative New Zealand
- heritage libraries or archives.