Manufacturing & Operations Jobs

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Lawson Williams

Lawson Williams Recruitment

Recruiting in the New Zealand Manufacturing sector for over 25 years.

About the Manufacturing & Operations Industry in New Zealand

The Manufacturing sector in New Zealand makes up 12% of New Zealand’s economy. The sector experienced decline since 2007, however in the last 5 years it has maintained growth.

New Zealand has a small open market economy. The history and current structure of manufacturing in New Zealand has been shaped by its geographical distance from its neighbouring trading partners, its generally good climate, small population and relatively large geographical area.

Our distance to markets initially constrained our manufacturing into producing commodity products that were easier to transport in bulk.


More recently, our export economy has diversified into a wider range of products due to the impacts of globalisation, the reduced cost of transport and investment in new technologies. For example, instead of exporting bulk ingredients our food industry is now able to produce and export value-added products.

Food and Beverage manufacturing is the largest subsector, contributing 32%. This sector has driven the growth of Manufacturing employment in New Zealand since 2013.

Growth and Demand in the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing is a large employer and has shown significant growth in employment since 2013. The largest region for manufacturing is Auckland where over a third of firms are based. This is followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.

Our manufacturing sector is made up largely of small businesses. There are only 300 manufacturing companies with more than 100 staff. One third of these are in the Food and Beverage sector and 51 are in the machinery and equipment sector.

More recently, manufacturing has seen the emergence of technology exporters in the medium and high tech sectors and on the whole, the industry is trending towards becoming increasingly digitized and automated.