Challenges of sustainability, data flow and sales create new roles for 2014.

New Zealand's economy is on the up and many industries are looking to hire. Careers involving Stem skills (science, technology, engineering and maths) are on the increase.

The rapid expansion of the digital world is also highlighting small but important increases in roles such as app and game developer. Social media expertise is also becoming more desirable.

Less noted, but equally important in the longer term, is an increase in roles involving personal interaction, persuasion, empathy and communication skills.

Here's a take on what roles will be in high demand this year, based on information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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Digital and creative technologies

The speed with which digital technology is changing the world is breathtaking. Digital careers offer opportunities to creatives as well as those with Stem skills. Tertiary graduates are entering roles that didn't exist when they started their study, so need to be motivated by the thought of continual change to be successful in this field.

A list of trending jobs for 2014, by professional networking website LinkedIn, includes IOS developer, Android developer, social media intern and data scientist - roles that didn't exist five years ago. A data scientist role needs skills in business, computer science and analysis; they analyse data from multiple sources to solve business problems or find new insights. IOS and Android developers create programs for mobile devices. The basic requirement for mobile app development is a bachelor's degree in either computer science, engineering with a technology focus, or information systems, says Hays NZ managing director Jason Walker.

"Due to the significant lack of resource in New Zealand and the nature of the role (a mixture of tech knowledge and creativity) it's a good opportunity for graduates to be trained into a position."

Social media is another area of growth, says Walker. He says social-media experts require a strong foundation in PR, marketing and communications. They will work with marketing teams as part of the overall strategy of a business to promote products, services and manage brands.

Network administrators

Burgeoning networks and data require people who can administer, control and secure the information flow. These roles are in high demand.

Programmers with business acumen, ICT security consultants, network engineers (who design, implement and support networks) and data administrators (who manage the flow of data) are just some roles in demand in this area. ICT technicians are also in demand to install, maintain and repair communication systems for telco networks and internet systems. IT personnel with cloud-based expertise are also sought after, as are infrastructure architects.

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Hays also reports a strong demand for business analysts, user-interface developers and designers, and UX (user-experience) consultants.

People-focused services

Don't despair if you are not the type of person who is enthralled by the latest smartphone app or logarithms.

Digital technology cannot replace the impact of human interaction such as from a professionally empathetic listener, a fitness instructor's words of encouragement or an expressive sales pitch. No matter how automated or digital the world becomes, there is still a strong need for people who offer face-to-face services. And not just in social and community services.

Companies need people, not machines, to communicate so sales managers, telesellers and account managers are in high demand. There is also a shortage of executive assistants with strong personal skills to back up their office skills, and there is more demand for HR and work-safety experts.

Service industries, such as hospitality, are also short of experienced front-of-house managers, duty managers and chefs, particularly chef de partie who run a specific section of the kitchen. There is also more demand for exercise instructors as people become more aware of the benefits of being healthy.

Aged care and health

Our ageing population is making a positive impact on career options and not just because of retirement. Life expectancy is higher than it has ever been, and this impacts the numbers of aged care and health support roles required, particularly healthcare assistants, dentists, doctors, pharmacists and specialist nurses.

Because older people are fitter and wealthier than ever, they are also keen to access a wider range of services and spend on leisure, fitness, travel and hospitality, creating opportunities for customised service.

Sustainability experts

People who can help us become more environmentally friendly are going to be hugely important to our economy and society. Think solar engineers, industrial designers, food scientists, and the roles that are yet to evolve out of these areas.

Construction and trades

Demand continues for construction workers and related trades thanks to the reconstruction of Christchurch, the demand for housing in Auckland and ongoing leaky-home renovations.

There are also a number of new jobs being created through large-scale transport infrastructure projects. Roles in demand include architects, construction project managers, project engineers, quantity surveyors, construction estimators, civil engineers, builders, plumbers, electricians and welders.

People with an interest in power supply who are prepared to live in rural areas will find work plentiful if they train for distribution-line mechanic roles (work on overhead and underground power lines).

According to the Hays report, there is also a shortage of power technicians (to inspect, install and maintain electricity supply) as few electricians choose to specialise in this area. There is also a shortage of substation design engineers, who design and maintain power infrastructure, in regional New Zealand.