High competition for entry-level jobs
Employers prefer to hire occupational therapists with experience, so competition is high for entry-level jobs.
New graduates have a better chance of finding work where adequate supervision is available such as in private clinics or public hospitals.
According to the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand, 3,013 occupational therapists worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Ageing population and mental health needs increase demand for occupational therapists
Job opportunities for experienced occupational therapists are good because:
- New Zealand's large ageing population is using more occupational therapy services to remain independent and active
- demand is increasing for occupational therapists to provide mental health and addiction services.
Occupational therapist appears on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled occupational therapists from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Types of employers varied
Occupational therapists may work for:
- district health boards (public health services and hospitals)
- private occupational therapy or multi-disciplinary practices
- primary health care providers
- rest homes, hospices or private hospitals
- rehabilitation services
- primary and secondary schools
- ACC (as case managers)
- non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as charities or trusts
- the Ministry of Education
- local government.
Many occupational therapists are self-employed.