Job Prospects... At a glance
New Zealand has a shortage of trained, qualified electricians, so employment prospects are good. Demand is high in Auckland and Christchurch, where electricians are needed for house building and commercial work.
Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems and equipment in a wide range of areas. They are involved construction and maintenance of both residential and commercial properties. Electricians do a wide range of work, depending on what they specialise in.
According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:
Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool
To become an electrician you need to complete a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering – Electrician for Registration (Level 4) or, for electricity supply electricians, a National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Level 4). You can complete these qualifications as part of an apprenticeship with a registered electrician. An apprenticeship usually takes three to four years to complete, and involves a mix of theory and practical on-the-job learning.
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 Electrical Engineering/ Electricity Supply (Level 4, Apprenticeship)|
|$4,000-$6,500 over three years|
Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to feesfree.govt.nz. Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.
Costs may be subsidised or fully paid when done as part of an apprenticeship.
More information on apprenticeships is available on the Skills Organisation website. This site also outlines the path students can take to become a registered electrician. Connexis, the Infrastructure Industry Trade Organisation (ITO), provides information on electricity supply electricians. The Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) provides work requirements for different careers in the electrical trade.
Skills Organisation: www.skills.org.nz/industries/specialist-trades/electrical/electrical-engineering
Electrical Workers Registration Board - Careers: www.ewrb.govt.nz/training-and-qualifications/careers
The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.
Electrician courses are available around the country, but you will most likely study in a region close to where you are completing your apprenticeship.
The EWRB has a comprehensive list of electrician training providers.
Electrical Workers Registration Board: www.ewrb.govt.nz/training-and-qualifications/training-providers/
Electricians need to be registered with the EWRB. To apply for registration you need to have a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering and you must pass an electrical regulations exam.
In June 2014, there were 25,781 registered electrical workers, up 7.8% on the previous year.
Number of licenced electrical workers chart
Source: Electrical Workers Registration Board
In 2017, the average income for electricians was estimated to be around $59,00. Most electricians earn between $40,000 and $70,000 a year.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
The number of employed electricians has remained steady for the last several years, with very little impact from the global recession. Employment numbers are projected to increase significantly until 2021. After that, there will still be quick growth, but not as quick as 2013-2020.
It is notable that there are a large number of registered electricians who are not currently working as electricians (around 5,000). This might be because they are working in related fields.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Tertiary Education Commission.
*Three years after completion of L4 Certificate - Electrical & Electronic Engineer & Tech.
Most graduates with a level 4 diploma in electrical and electronic engineering and tech are in employment three years after graduating. Almost no one is on benefits. Some are in further study, few are overseas. The median salary was $64,000 at that point.
Electricians are on Immigration New Zealand's Long Term Skill Shortage List for all regions. 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 vacancies for electricians has increased steadily since 2010, and in December 2017, there were more than two times as many advertisements as in December 2008.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Electrician vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.
After several years of experience, many electricians become contractors, running their own business. Electrical contractors may plan, supervise or work on electrical systems or equipment.
Most electricians work for or operate a small business. Often these businesses provide electrical services to homes and other small businesses. Industrial and specialist electricians can work in a wide range of areas, including:
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level electricians.
More information on electricians is available on the websites of Careers NZ and the Skills Organisation. The "Just the Job" videos also contain useful information.
Careers NZ: www.careers.govt.nz
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Electrical Engineering
Just the Job video clip: A Career as an Electrican - Training with the Electrical Training Company
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Electricity Supply
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Power Technician & Line Mechanic
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of electricians has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:
3411 – Electricians