So What’s New Zealand Like?
Posted on 01 November, 2013 16:52
Those interested in psychology jobs in New Zealand often ask, what is it like? A quick Google search will locate descriptions of ‘Kiwi culture’ that include attempts at defining the ‘national character’. Then there are the demographics of the ethnic make up of the country's small 4.4 million population. There are the powerful examples of the influence and mainstream adoption of Polynesian cultural practices. Always there are the endless, yet justified, mentions of the country's natural beauty. However, no attempt at description can perhaps fully capture the fact that New Zealand is unique. It was one of the last places to be discovered by humans, and then within it’s relatively short history it has developed into an embracing multicultural society, derived from an exceptional bi-cultural partnership agreement. No matter where you are from, a move to New Zealand would require adapting and learning to become a Kiwi.
So what to expect? Perhaps a useful approach to understanding what New Zealand is like is to consider how the society has been captured on various measures.
What do these results tell us?
Educational System: on the OECD measure - The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) New Zealand scored 11th for quality of educational system, 12th for quality of maths and science education and 24th for quality of school management. New Zealand students were ranked fourth in reading literacy, fourth in scientific literacy and seventh in mathematical literacy More details here. New Zealand also offers a fully inclusive education system for everyone. We regularly have psychology jobs in special education. This is an important and valued public service for New Zealanders.
Happiness: Two studies of the “happiness of nations” come from the Happy Planet Index (HPI) of the New Economics Foundation and the Better Life Index of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to the 2012 HPI New Zealand is the 28th happiest country in a list of over 150, ranking 16th for life expectancy and 15th for well-being. In the OECD Better Life Index 2012 New Zealand is 11th with a Life Satisfaction rate of 7.2. Denmark, the country at 1st, has a 7.8 rate.
Job Satisfactions: The vast majority of people working in New Zealand are satisfied with their jobs, and manage to achieve good work-life balance. That is according to The Survey of Working Life which found that nearly 9 of 10 (85.4%) of employed people were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ in their main job. Only 1 of 20 (4.7%) were either ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’. More details here.
Ease of doing business: The ease with which companies can start and run their businesses correlates with countries’ regulations and protection of property rights, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report. In the list of best countries for doing business in 2013, like in 2012, New Zealand ranks 1st in terms of ease in starting a business and 3rd for ease of doing business. Many psychologists take advantage of this by running successful private practices.
Competitiveness: New Zealand is the 18th most competitive country in the world, according to the 2013 Global Competitiveness Index, which ranks 148 countries according to their performance on factors such as innovation, market size, market efficiency, infrastructure, business sophistication and others. Innovation can be found in many aspects of psychological service delivery, particularly in terms of attention to the importance of cultural factors in psychological practice.
Integrity & Ethics: Equally the 2013 Global Competitiveness Index ranked New Zealand in 2nd place overall for strength and integrity of institutions, achieving 1st place for ethical behaviour of firms, judicial independence, absence of bribes, and absence of diversion of public funds. Kiwis highly value honesty and despise corruption in their business dealings.
Financial Protections: Protection of borrowers’ & lenders’ rights (1st equal), soundness of banks (2nd) and ease of access to loans (9th) were New Zealand’s highest rankings for financial markets. Although New Zealand is a highly deregulated country the counter to this is having good effective protections for when things do go wrong.
Auckland and Wellington: Quality of living – The two main New Zealand cities, Auckland and Wellington, are in the top 15 of the 2012 Mercer Quality of Living Survey (Worldwide Rankings). Auckland is 3rd in the world and retains its position as the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the Asia-Pacific region. Wellington ranks 13th in the world and 3rd in the Asia-Pacific region, after Auckland and Sydney.
But no country is perfect and the most problematic factors, at least for doing business were judged to be inadequate infrastructure, inadequately educated workforce, insufficient capacity to innovate and inefficient government bureaucracy. But things are improving: in 2013 New Zealand has overtaken five countries, including Australia, to move its overall ranking to 18th place, up from 23rd place in last year’s survey. The top three places this year were similar to previous years’ rankings: Switzerland, Singapore and Finland.
Click here for an appraisal of your employability in New Zealand.
Sources: World Bank, New Economics Foundation, OECD, Mercer, BusinessNZ and The NZ Initiative
Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand