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.
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.
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.
"Whether you desire the hustle and bustle of the city or the idyllic charm of the countryside, your planning degree can take you there".
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.
"Planning is for the community and this means that diverse voices and experiences are welcomed".
If you are interested in shaping the future, improving the quality of life for people, protecting and improving our natural and built environment then planning could be the career for you!
Day to day work involves writing reports, giving presentations, working with the community, modelling data and making lots and lots of maps!
As communities' goals are constantly changing, we have to review and update plans to meet current circumstances. That is why planning is necessary, and what makes it challenging and exciting.