Job Prospects... At a glance
Prospects for bricklayers over the next few years are good, due to growing building activity in Auckland and the continuing rebuild in Canterbury. Other regions still have many opportunities.
Bricklayers build structures like walls, houses and chimneys, using bricks, stones or concrete blocks. On smaller projects, they usually work alone, while on bigger projects they work as a team in coordination with other tradespeople.
There is no entry requirement to work as a bricklayer, but employers are increasingly looking for people with (or willing to work towards) a National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Levels 3 and 4), which is mainly done as part of an apprenticeship.
The National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Level 4) typically takes about four years to complete. You need this qualification, or its equivalent, if you want to become a licensed bricklayer under the government's ‘streamline’ licensed building practitioner process. It is still possible for you to become a licensed building practitioner without being qualified. This is done by undergoing a more extensive assessment based on your experience.
The New Zealand Apprenticeships scheme is available for anyone over the age of 16, and is subsidised by the government. More information on the scheme is on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website.
|National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Level 4, Apprenticeship)||National Certificate in Refractory Installation (Level 3, Apprenticeship)|
|$3,150 over four years||$1,600 over 14 months|
Average costs in 2016 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.
The least expensive way to train as a bricklayer is to become an apprentice. That way, you can earn while gaining a qualification.
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.
Apprenticeship training in bricklaying is arranged nationwide by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO). This includes both level 3 and 4 qualifications.
A pre-trade Level 3 Certificate in Brick and Block Laying is offered at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec).
Bricklayers with the right qualifications or experience can apply to become licensed building practitioners. This is done through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Licensing may be approved once an assessor has reviewed the application, called referees about prior work history, and conducted a phone interview with the applicant.
MBIE Building and Housing: www.business.govt.nz/lbp
The number of students completing Level 4 qualifications in the category Bricklaying and Stonemasonry has been steady at around 20 since 2009, except for a peak of 50 in 2012. This means there has been a low but steady supply of new bricklayers over the last few years.
Qualification completions chart
Source: Ministry of Education
The average income of bricklayers is estimated to be $46,500 per year. Bricklaying apprentices are likely to enter the trade on the training wage or on the minimum wage, whereas experienced and skilled bricklayers usually earn more than the average.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics New Zealand Census and Labour Cost Index
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE Projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Bricklayers, Carpenters and Joiners”.
Bricklayers’ employment decreased sharply from 2006 to 2013. Some of this decline was probably caused by the global economic downturn in 2008, and most of it probably occurred before 2011. Rebuilding after the Canterbury earthquakes has increased demand for bricklayers since 2010/2011. Increased housing construction in Auckland has also contributed to larger demand for bricklayers in the last few years.
Over the next three years, we expect there will be continued demand for bricklayers in Auckland due to the increasing building activity there. The Canterbury rebuild will continue to require workers for the next few years, but a fall in demand is expected from 2020 to 2025.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE Projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Ministry of Education
*Two years after completion of L4 Certificate – Building. ‘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 Level 4 Certificate in Building, 72% of graduates were employed and 17% were in further study. The median annual salary at that point was around $34,500.
Bricklayers and stonemasons are on Immigration New Zealand's Canterbury skill shortage list and immediate skill shortage list for Auckland/Upper North Island. If a job appears on the list, it means the government is actively encouraging skilled people in the role to come and work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Immigration NZ, skill shortage list: skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz
The number of online job ads for bricklayers has increased rapidly over the last years, although the growth slowed from 2015 to 2016. In April 2016, there were around four times as many job advertisements as in April 2008.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Bricklayer vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.
As bricklayers gain more experience, they often get more responsibility, for example, supervising other bricklayers and apprentices. After several years of experience, many bricklayers establish their own businesses.
BCITO provides an overview of the potential career path of someone starting out in bricklaying.
BCITO, Career progression: www.bcito.org.nz/get-career/career-options
The following occupations are related, but could require different qualifications than bricklayers.
More information on bricklayers is available on the Careers New Zealand website.
Careers New Zealand: www.careers.govt.nz
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of boat bricklayers has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for their purpose of this report:
3311 – Bricklayers and Stonemasons