Planning as a Career

Planning is a profession with a wide range of options to keep the generalist engaged and enough sector demand to allow specialisation if desired.

Most planning positions will require at a minimum, an undergraduate qualification in planning, resource management or a related field; a postgraduate qualification will also be beneficial if you are seeking senior roles. A science degree may be required if you want to work for regional councils, which work with issues such as water, soil and air management.

Click here to find planning related degrees in NZ.

A planning career can change from day to day, you may be in a community meeting to discuss an area plan or project one day, researching and writing evidence for a hearing, or running a political briefing the next. The common skill requirements in a planning career are project management and communication skills.

Location, location, location

Big or small, every region in New Zealand (and generally abroad) operates under a council or government entity which requires planners. This means that whether you desire the hustle and bustle of the city or the idyllic charm of the countryside, your planning degree can take you there.

As a planner, you can work for a private consultancy, developer, the government or non-government organisations (NGOs). Planning is also a career that allows you to work as an independent consultant or to open your own planning business, with many planners making a career that suits them. This flexibility means if your situation changes or you have ambitions of working for yourself, planning provides you with opportunities.

Work culture and remuneration

Planning is a profession that includes people of different backgrounds, genders and culture. As of 2018 the salary survey recorded the profession as 41.6% male, 57.8% female and .6% as Other gender. Planning is for the community and this means that diverse voices and experiences are welcomed.

Remuneration for planners is generally good and increases with years of experience and entry to management or specialist roles.

The NZPI also undertakes an annual salary review, which can be accessed here.