Property Industry Careers

In this section we will introduce you to just some of the careers that are on offer in this great industry. There are many roles to choose from and many qualification paths that can lead you to your chosen profession. Take some time to look at the roles we have featured and also an overview of the qualifications we support. We have also included some stories "A day in the life of....' from people that are actually carrying out some of these roles within our sponsor company organisations. We hope this gives you a good insight into what is on offer.

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Check out our guide to careers, qualifications, university and Keystone Scholarships.

Tell me about positions

The property and construction sector remains an important part of the New Zealand economy, with graduate-level managerial and professional posts expected to increase significantly in the next decade. The growth in demand for talent is due to many factors that have impacted on the New Zealand property and construction sector.


Engineers play a big part in how we go about our everyday lives. Their work involves planning, designing, constructing and maintaining projects that impact on how we live. These include large buildings, roads, bridges, water distribution systems, dams, sewage treatment plants and flood protection systems.

Engineers are problem solvers. To solve these problems, they use scientific and mathematical principles as tools. They are capable of clearly defining a problem and its constraints – e.g. time and cost, and providing a simple solution. A senior engineer will usually perform less technical work but instead focus on managing a project or team of engineers.


An architect is a person who designs buildings and in many cases also supervises their construction. It is a subject that contains a lot of graphic design, measurement and interest in buildings.

Before a building is constructed, an architect needs to draw a plan of the building, and will sometimes make small real or computer-created models of the building before it is built by the construction company in reality.

An architect needs to be a person who has good drawing/drafting skills, able to visualise what they are drawing, and have good problem solving skills. It is a highly creative subject, as experimentation and new ways to build things encouraged. They consider how a building interacts with its environment and aim to inspire the people that use the space.

An architect will also closely supervise construction companies to make sure that the buildings are being built according to plans. It is a very hands-on career, and is both challenging and rewarding.

Quantity Surveyor

A quantity surveyor calculates the amount of materials needed for building work, and how much they will cost. Quantity surveyors manage construction project finances. They calculate a budget based on their client’s requirements, and prepare detailed estimates to ensure the budget is enough for each stage of construction as the project develops.

Surveyors want to lower the costs of a project and give a lot of value for money, while still achieving the required standards and quality. Many of the required standards are specified by statutory building regulations, which the surveyor needs to understand and adhere to.

A quantity surveyor may work for either the client or the contractor, working in an office or on site. They are involved in a project from the start, preparing estimates for costs of the work.

When the project is underway, quantity surveyors keep track of anything that changes during the project (a ‘variation’) that may affect costs, and then create reports to show how a new approach might work.

Time management is very important to quantity surveyors, as they often have more than one project they are working on, and are normally very busy. However, they still are still involved in the building process and will go on site as well.

Facilities Manager

A facilities manager’s main function is to coordinate and oversee the safe, secure and environmentally-sound operations and maintenance of assets, whether they be buildings, properties or major infrastructure.

In commercial operations the facility manager focuses on existing tenants and their day to day needs in a building, called the human needs of the building, along with the maintenance of a building.

Some facilities managers operate inside of organisations that own assets while some work for generalist property companies or specialist facilities companies who manage an owners assets on an outsourced basis.

The role is often very hands on and practical and suits someone who likes interacting with people while still being systems and detail focussed.

Urban Planner

Urban planners develop plans and programmes for the use of land in urban and suburban areas.

They use planning to create communities, accommodate growth, or revitalise physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas. Nearly two-thirds of planners work in local government.

Urban planners normally analyse land use as well as the economic, environmental and social trends in developing their plan for a community, whether it be commercially, residentially, agriculturally, naturally or recreationally. Urban planners must also think about a wide range of issues like sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes.

It is their job to see the “bigger picture” in a future community. Most often they are key in developing suburban areas just outside the city. They are the go-between between the people in the area, people going to live in the area and the people in charge of building and development. They are important in modern society as suburbs and urban areas grow, and is a profession that can be taken world-wide.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design and build bridges, roads, railways, tunnels, water distribution systems, dams, sewage treatment plants, and flood protection systems such as levees and seawalls.

They also design and build tall structures – such as multi-storey car parks and train stations – and they also maintain existing infrastructure that needs fixing. They plan, design, construct, maintain and operate these things while trying to protect the public and environmental health.

Within the Civil Engineering field there are many specialties, such as structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, hydraulic engineers, and environmental engineers.

Landscape Architect/Designer

A landscape architect is a person involved in the planning, design and sometimes direction of a landscape or outside space.

Landscape architects link the physical environment with human culture. In a world ever more concerned with promoting a sustainable future both for ecosystems and for humanity, landscape architects have a special job to create sustainable design solutions in the built environment, which respect the special character of place, while protecting the natural environment and ecosystems in order to improve the quality of life for all living things.

Working with plants, rocks, earth and all the elements that you find in the outside world, landscape architects work both as lead professionals and as specialist site designers on a wide range of projects, including civic developments, urban design, commercial, industrial and tourism developments, and residential and lifestyle subdivisions. They also work in heritage conservation, ecological restoration, urban and rural planning and resource management.

Property Services Valuer

Valuers assess the value of land and buildings for selling, buying, renting, mortgaging, insurance or rates.

A valuation is a professional assessment of how much your property is worth. A valuer inspects a property, considers all the factors that affect the value and compiles a valuation report. It provides a professional estimation of how much a property is worth in today’s property market.

Valuations are made for many different purposes, such as rating and taxing, finance, financial reporting, investment, insurance, rental, sale and purchase.

A property valuer advises on residential, commercial and rural real estate. They inspect properties, check planning regulations to see if changes to property are allowed, research sales of properties, write reports and examine current property prices. A property valuer makes judgments about the value of properties to enable others to make informed decisions about lending, investments and pricing amongst other things.

Construction Manager

Construction management or construction project management is the planning, coordination and control of a project from beginning to end.

Construction management is aimed at meeting a client’s requirement in order to produce a project that functions and is able to be financed.

Often managing a lot of people on site, they have to set schedules, keep an eye on finances, make sure everybody is where they’re supposed to be every day, ensure there are no safety hazards around, and make sure there are no problems.

Construction managers are hired to lead and oversee a variety of building projects from start to finish. The jobs can range from a small remodelling or a renovation job to the construction of a large commercial structure, such as a school or hospital.

Land Surveyor

Surveying and land surveying is the measurement and mapping of land using mathematics, technology and equipment. Surveyors measure just about anything on the land, in the sky or on the ocean bed. They even measure polar ice caps.

Land surveying is the detailed study or inspection, by gathering information through observations, measurements in the field, questionnaires, or research of legal instruments, and data analysis in the support of planning, designing, and establishing of property boundaries. It involves looking at land boundaries based on documents of record and historical evidence, as well as certifying surveys of plots or maps as well as many other previous land surveys and documentation.

Surveyors work with people who are in engineering, architecture, geology and planning. Surveyors are often the first people on any construction site, as they measure and map the land before any work takes place on it. These first measurements are used by architects to understand and make the most of the land when designing and for engineers to plan structures accurately and safely, ensuring buildings not only fit with the landscape but are able to be constructed.

Structural Engineer

Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering. Structural engineers are involved in designing structures such as buildings, bridges and tunnels. Structural engineers can also be involved in demolishing buildings.

A structural engineer designs the structure, and does calculations that to make sure that the building will stand up to the wind, can withstand earthquakes and other loads. A structural engineer also selects the sizes and shapes for all the structural components, and makes drawings showing how everything is to be put together.

Project Manager

A project manager is the bridging gap between the construction team and clients, so they must have a fair knowledge of the construction industry so that they are capable of understanding and discussing problems that arise with either party.

Building and construction managers plan, organise, direct, control and co-ordinate the construction of civil engineering projects, buildings and homes, and the physical resources and people involved in building and construction.

A project manager has to have great communication skills as they have to talk to many people and make sure everyone is in touch with each other. They normally work in teams and collaborate with many other people, and is not a desk job: being out and about is part of the job.

Commercial Property Manager

Commercial Property Managers are primarily responsible for renting or leasing a property to others and managing the operations of that property on behalf of an owner. Management includes various activities such as: finding and evicting tenants, managing all tenant enquiries, collecting rents and overseeing services such as maintenance, grounds keeping, security, cleaning and rubbish removal.

The process of managing commercial properties may involve looking after any type of property from retail shops to industrial buildings and multi-storey office buildings.

Property managers are required to be professional and well informed on housing and property laws along with property management practices and procedures. They enhance the value of the property by making improvements that will increase its market value.

Commercial Property Lawyer

Commercial lawyers are business enablers, helping to pave the way to a successful commercial transaction.

Commercial property lawyers deal with transactions related to properties that are large or worth a lot of money. It can sometimes be known as real estate law and it can cover specialist areas such as property finance and mortgage lending.

Property lawyers mainly deal with the buying and selling or rental of property, so it is based around transactions – ie: buying or selling property. However, less often it can also be about litigation (in court) if landlord and tenant issues occur.

Property law is loosely split into residential and commercial work. Depending on which type you do can decide the type of clients you deal with. Commercial property lawyers provide advice to property owners, developers and tenants in a wide range of commercial projects.

Property Financier

Property Finance teams are industry specialists in companies – often banks – that offer financing solutions to the property industry.

Property Finance is a well-established area of expertise within the real estate industry. It covers the funding of the purchase and development of properties: the immediate financial help that is needed when properties need to be built or sold.

Property finance in New Zealand enables commercial, industrial and residential property developers to have enough capital to proceed with their project.

Tell me about qualifications

There are many tertiary pathways that can lead you into the property sector. We support students on their tertiary journey across many different property related qualifications and across all New Zealand tertiary institutions that offer these studies.

Bachelor of Architectural Studies


The Bachelor of Architectural Studies develops fundamental skills and an understanding of architectural design and the design process.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Architectural design
  • Design manager
  • Design technician
  • Draftsperson




Graduates will be able to apply business concepts to the valuation, property and asset management, property development and real estate industries.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Private practice firms involved in property and development consultancy, project management and co-ordination, and property management
  • Valuation firms
  • Commercial and industrial enterprises which use, occupy, or own all types of property
  • Life offices, insurance companies, finance houses, banks, and mutual and superannuation funds which are heavily involved in property investment, financing, and ownership
  • Government organisations involved in property and development consultancy, project management and co-ordination, and property management
  • Local and Regional Authorities, Universities, Medical Facilities
  • Regional shopping centre, supermarket, and chain store developers and operators
  • Development and construction companies
  • Real Estate firms


Bachelor of Landscape Architecture


The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture will develop your environmental, cultural and aesthetic awareness, enabling you to design and manage high quality environments with sensitive use of physical resources.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Landscape architect
  • Environmental design consultant
  • Urban designer
  • Heritage landscape consultant
  • Regional planner
  • Environment commissioner


Bachelor of Spatial Design


The Spatial Design degree explores space through interior and architectural design, bringing together architecture, landscape, urban, performance, exhibition and digital design.

If you are –

  • Fascinated with the spaces that people live, work and play in
  • Someone with a love of exploring and experimenting
  • A thinker, maker or planner

Then spatial design might be a good option for you.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Interior/Building design
  • Urban Design
  • Industrial Designer


Bachelor of Building Science


The Bachelor of Building Science develops the understanding of the professional, technical and scientific skills to meet the changing needs of the building industry.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including project management, sustainable engineering, building research and development, lighting, heating and acoustics.


Bachelor of Construction


Graduates from the Bachelor of Construction will have a thorough grounding in all aspects of their specialty with the knowledge and skills including technical competence and an awareness of complex modern issues that impact on the construction industry.

Within the Bachelor of Constructions there are options to specialise in differing areas depending on your place of study.

  • Construction management
  • Construction economics
  • Quantity Surveying

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Construction site manager
  • Project manager
  • Project planner
  • Property developer
  • Construction quantity surveyor
  • Consultant quantity surveyor
  • Commercial manager
  • Project manager
  • Property financial adviser


Bachelor of Urban Planning


The Bachelor of Urban Planning will allow you to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding across the practical and theoretical areas of study related to urban planning practice.

The Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) programme is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills required for urban planning practice in an increasingly complex and diverse world.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Urban Designer
  • Catchment Management Planner
  • Policy Analyst (Planner)
  • Recreation Planner


Bachelor of Surveying


The Bachelor of Surveying equips you with the knowledge and skills across the science of measurement, in the practical issues of land planning and development, it also includes the legal issues associated with land ownership and resource management.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Surveyor
  • Cadastral Surveyor
  • Engineering Surveyor
  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Mine Surveyor


BACHELOR OF BUSINESS STUDIES (Valuation and Property Management)


The Bachelor of Business Studies (Valuation and Property Management) allows you to gain the knowledge of business disciplines including valuation, property and asset management, property development and real estate industries.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Private practice firms involved in property and development consultancy, project management and co-ordination, and property management
  • Valuation firms
  • Commercial and industrial enterprises which use, occupy, or own all types of property
  • Life offices, insurance companies, finance houses, banks, and mutual and superannuation funds which are heavily involved in property investment, financing, and ownership
  • Government organisations involved in property and development consultancy, project management and co-ordination, and property management
  • Local and Regional Authorities, Universities, Medical Facilities
  • Regional shopping centre, supermarket, and chain store developers and operators
  • Development and construction companies
  • Real Estate firms


Bachelor of Engineering


There are many specialisations within the Bachelor of Engineering. The key focus for the property and construction sector is in the area of Civil Engineering.

Civil engineering covers the areas of structural, water, geotechnical, transport and the environment.

The Bachelor of Engineering provides you with technical and theoretical knowledge and analytical, problem-solving and communication skills required by the profession of engineering.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Civil engineer (design)
  • Civil engineering project and/or construction manager
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Roading-transportation engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Water/environmental engineer


Bachelor of Property


The Bachelor of Property will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of the principles, concepts and ideas that underpin property processes. The programme incorporates communication, data and information analysis, marketing and research – all in the context of the property industry.

Options are available to undertake a conjoint degree, combining property with Law, Commerce or Engineering.

Career Options

Graduates find work in areas including:

  • Investment management
  • Valuation
  • Property finance and investment
  • Property management
  • Property consultancy
  • Property development
  • Market research
  • Project management
  • Building surveying
  • Property portfolio fund management


A day in the life of…


Consultant to the United Nations, Bangkok


Associate Director, Construction Services – AECOM


Programme and Project Manager, Arup, UK


Architectural Graduate, OPUS International Consultants Ltd

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