Job Prospects... At a glance
The chances of getting work as a film, TV, or music technician are limited because the news and entertainment industry in New Zealand is small and competition for roles is high. Many in this industry work as freelancers and it can be hard to get established.
Film, TV, and music technicians work with pictures and sound for movie producers, TV stations, music studios, and radio stations. Roles in this category include cameramen, lighting technicians and sound technicians. They are responsible for the technical aspects of producing entertainment and their contribution is largely unseen.
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
There are no specific entry requirements to become a film, TV or music technician. Most skills are learnt on the job. However, starting out as a film, TV or music technician can be difficult, and many people choose to complete tertiary education in communication and media studies.
Any previous experience can help when trying to secure a first job, so students that are interested in this field should seek out volunteering opportunities to gain experience and increase their chances of getting a job.
There are many possible tertiary qualifications for someone wanting to enter this industry. Many universities offer undergraduate degrees in film and media studies. Some polytechnics also offer relevant studies, especially in audio production. Finally, there are some specialised institutions in this area, such as the New Zealand Film and Television School and the SAE Institute.
The least expensive way to become a film, TV or music technician is to train on the job. However, it can be hard to get that first job in without any qualifications or experience.
As there are many different institutions and qualifications that could be relevant for film, TV and music technicians, costs can differ greatly. The specialist institutions are usually the most expensive places to study, while polytechnics are the least expensive, or even sometimes free. 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. Check directly with course provider which fee applies for the desired 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.
Two specialist providers of film, TV and music technician qualifications are the SAE Institute and the New Zealand Film School. You can also study film and media at various universities, wānanga and polytechnics throughout the country. Careers New Zealand’s website has a searchable database of NZQA-registered courses.
The number of students completing a bachelor’s degree in the broader category communication and media studies has declined slightly in recent years, from a top of 1350 in 2012. Qualifications at other levels are also available.
Qualification completions chart
Source: Ministry of Education
The average annual income for film, TV and music technicians is estimated to be around $51,000.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index
Film, TV and music technicians’ employment
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Projected growth is for the broader category of “Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers”.
The number of film, TV and music technicians employed in New Zealand increased over the period from 2006 to 2013. Future growth for the wider category of ‘Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers’ is projected to be 3.0% in the period 2013-2021, and then fall to 1..8% out to 2026.
There is, however, plenty of competition for available roles, which means it can be hard to find work. Film, TV and music technician employment is also often characterised by freelancing, which can feel less secure than permanent roles.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
Film, TV and music technicians are not on Immigration New Zealand's skills shortage lists.
Immigration NZ, skill shortage list: skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz
The number of online job vacancies for film, TV and music technicians showed some quite wide fluctuations over the last few years. This shows how unpredictable and cyclical the film, TV and music sector can be. A big project in the industry can notably boost employment.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Although some film, TV and music technician vacancies are advertised through talent agencies and websites such as Trade Me Jobs and Seek, most rely on connections and reputation to find work. Employment can also be found through proactive job-seeking with potential employers.
There is no clear career path for film, TV and music technicians. Pay rates vary depending on your ability and experience, location, and the type of work.
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require different qualifications and skills than film, TV and music technicians.
More information on film, TV and music technicians is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of film, TV and music technicians has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:
399512 – Camera Operator (Film, Television or Video)
399513 – Light Technician
399514 – Make Up Artist
399516 – Sound Technician