Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Telecommunications Trades Workers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects as a telecommunication s technician are currently quite good due in part to government investment in ultra-fast broadband (due for completion in 2019). Demand is expected to start tailing off slightly after 2019. The income for this occupation is above average.

How to become a telecommunications trades worker

What they do

Telecommunications technicians install, maintain and repair electronic communications equipment in telecommunication networks and internet supply systems.

Qualifications needed

To become a telecommunications technician you need to complete a telecommunications apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Telecommunications (Level 3 or 4).

Cost of study

National Certificate in Telecommunications - Level 3 (Apprenticeship)
$3,000 - $5,000 over two to three years

Average costs in 2015 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. Further costs include materials, textbooks, off-job training and accommodation.

Telecommunications apprenticeships can be done through the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation (Connexis) and The Skills Organisation.

Under the government-subsidised New Zealand Apprenticeships Scheme, apprenticeships are available for anyone over the age of 16. More information on the Scheme is on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website.

The Skills Organisation: 

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

Telecommunications training providers are listed on The Skills Organisation website.

The Skills Organisation, Training providers:

Certification and registration

Employers may require telecommunications technicians to become registered electrical service technicians with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.

Electrical Workers Registration Board:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing a Level 4 Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Tech has grown substantially over the last few years, with a peak of 400 in 2013. The number of graduates has stayed over 200 in the years since then.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2016, the average income for telecommunications trades workers was around $56,500. However, income is highly variable, and depends on a person’s qualifications and area of specialisation:

  • new telecommunications technicians can expect to start on about $30,000 a year
  • technicians with more than five years’ experience usually earn between $35,000 and $50,000 a year
  • senior technicians and those in supervisory positions usually earn between $50,000 and $70,000 a year, but may earn more.
Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Telecommunications trades workers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2020 2025
7,026 8,304 9,918 10,131
  2.4% 2.6% 0.4%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Electronics and Telecommunications Trades Workers”

Employment for telecommunication trades workers grew from 2006 to 2013. This growth is projected to continue until 2020. After 2020, a small increase in employment is expected until 2025.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
4% 35% S 58% $34,400

Source: Ministry of Education
*Two years after completion of L4 Certificate - Electrical & Electronic Engineer & Tech. ‘Overseas’ refers to the percentage of ALL graduates completing this qualification. Other indicators refer only to graduates living in New Zealand.

Most people are in employment two years after graduating with a level 4 Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology. Some are in further education, and very few are overseas or receiving a benefit. The median salary is around $34,400 two years after graduating.

The job of electrical linesworker appears on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list and Canterbury skill shortage list. Electronic equipment trades worker, cabler (data and telecommunications), telecommunications cable jointer, and telecommunications technician are on the immediate skill shortage list (all regions). If a job appears on the lists, it means the government is actively encouraging skilled workers from overseas to work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website. Other occupations related to telecommunications trades workers are not on the skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Online vacancies for telecommunication trades workers grew slightly faster than the average for all occupations from 2008 to 2016, albeit in a more variable way.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Vacancies for telecommunications trades workers are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Telecommunication trades workers may be promoted to senior technician or management roles.

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 telecommunication trades workers.

  • Cabler
  • Electrical Line Mechanic
  • Electrician
  • Electronic Instrument Trades Worker
  • Electronics Trades Worker
  • Line Mechanic
  • Technical Cable Jointer
  • Telecommunications Technician

Other information

More information on telecommunications trades workers is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand:
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Telecommunications


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

The occupation of telecommunication trades workers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

342211 – Electrical Linesworker (Aus) / Electrical Line Mechanic (NZ)
3423 – Electronics Trades Workers
3424 – Telecommunications Trades Workers