Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Although midwives are not as in demand they were a few years ago, their job prospects are still good. A steady increase in employment is expected and the income for midwives is high.

How to become a midwife

What they do

Midwives are health professionals specialising in childbirth. They support and care for the mother and child, and their role includes: monitoring the health and wellbeing of women and their growing babies during  pregnancy, care during labour and birth and for six weeks after birth.  Midwives can provide all of the necessary care to women who experience normal pregnancy and birth. They refer to and work alongside other health professionals if complications arise. Midwives can choose to work as either Lead Maternity Carers (working in small group practices looking after their own caseload of women), or employed to work rostered shifts in maternity hospitals.


A Bachelor of Midwifery is needed to become a midwife. This qualification is a four year equivalent degree, which usually takes three years to complete full-time.

Midwives must also be registered with and hold a practising certificate issued by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand.

For more information on midwives’ education, see the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) page on education.

NZCOM educational website:

Cost of study

Bachelor of Midwifery
$27,000 over three years

Approximate costs in 2016 for domestic students. Costs vary between institutions. Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

There are currently four providers of a Bachelor of Midwifery. These are AUT, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Wintec, and Otago Polytechnic. As well as having students in the main centres where these institutions are situated, , these schools also offer satellite education in other locations. Check with the individual institutions for details.

Income and employment prospects


The average annual income for midwives is estimated to be around $67,000.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Midwives’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2020 2025
2,256 2,421 2,603 2,801
  1.0% 1.0% 1.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the broader category “Midwifery and Nursing Professionals”.

The number of midwives in employment grew steadily between 2006 and 2013. That growth is expected to continue at around 1% to 2020 and 1.5% to 2025.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
14% 39% 1% 59% $52,200

Source: Ministry of Education
*Two years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Nursing. ‘Overseas’ refers to the percentage of ALL graduates completing this qualification. Other indicators refer only to graduates living in New Zealand.

Two years after completing a bachelor’s degree in the broader category ‘Nursing’ (of which midwifery graduates constitute about 5-10%), most graduates were either in employment or further study. Some were overseas, and very few were receiving benefits. The median salary was around $52,200 two years after graduation.

Midwives are not on Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Between 2008 and 2015, the number of online job vacancies for midwives has gone up and down. Since 2010 there has been a decline overall, so that in 2016, the number of job advertisements was about 65% of what it was in 2008.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Midwife vacancies are advertised through NZCOM’s website, District Health Board websites, health sector job boards such as Kiwi Health Jobs, and general job boards such as Trade Me Jobs and Seek.

Trade Me Jobs:
Kiwi Health jobs:
NZCOM, vacancies:

Career path

Midwives can choose to work as either Lead Maternity Carers (working on call, in small group practices looking after their own caseload of women), or employed to work rostered shifts in maternity hospitals. As they gain experience midwives working in hospital settings can be employed in senior roles with more responsibility and earn a higher income. Some midwives study to get a master’s degree or PhD to increase their knowledge. Other career paths include teaching and education or research and academia.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level midwives.

  • Nursing Support and Care Worker
  • Obstetrician
  • Registered Nurse

Other information


More information on midwives is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of midwife has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

2541 –Midwives