Job Prospects... At a glance
The chances of getting a job as a receptionist are fair. Although many jobs are available and vacancies open up regularly, there is strong competition for these positions.
Receptionists greet visitors and clients, and deal with enquiries and requests. They need to have a sound knowledge of their organisation’s services, structure and people, along with good interpersonal and customer-service skills. Their work includes scheduling appointments, keeping records, answering phones, and doing other administrative tasks.
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 receptionist, as the skills you need are usually learned on the job. A minimum of NCEA Level 2 maths, English and information management is recommended. Previous customer service experience, such as work in a store or cafe, is also useful for receptionists.
A National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing (Level 3) is sought after and would improve job prospects. You could study for the more advanced National Certificate in Business Administration (Level 4) part-time over 1–2 years while working or achieve the qualification through workplace based assessments.
Receptionists need to have computer and word-processing skills, administration skills (including telephone skills), and knowledge of administration policies, systems and procedures.
Medical receptionists and admissions officers may also need to know about hospital and staff routines, medical services, booking procedures and timetables, and have an understanding of medical terms.
|National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing (Level 3)|
|$2,500 over around 20 weeks|
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.
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.
A number of providers and polytechnics offer relevant courses. Once in a job, you can complete further qualifications through workplace based assessments. There are also several relevant courses, conferences and professional development opportunities for receptionists available year round. Many employers have professional development budgets to cover these.
Receptionists may register with the Association of Administration Professionals NZ (AAPNZ).
Registration is voluntary but members can work towards AAPNZ certification, which can improve skills and work prospects. Achievement of AAPNZ certification requires a Level 5 diploma or above, plus other criteria.
Further information on this can be found on the AAPNZ website.
AAPNZ, certification: aapnz.org.nz/certification.aspx
The number of students completing Level 4 Certificates in the broader category “Office studies” has decreased since 2011.
Qualification completions chart
Source: Ministry of Education
In 2017, the average income for receptionists was estimated to be $32,000.
|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.
*Growth projections are for the category “Receptionists”.
Employment numbers for receptionists decreased between 2006 and 2013. This trend is projected to slow and reverse somewhat, and employment is expected to remain relatively stable until 2026. There are opportunities for job seekers, but positions are highly contested.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
Since 2011, online job advertisements for receptionists have tracked just above the average for all vacancies.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Receptionist vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs, NZ Government Jobs and Seek websites.
With the broad knowledge of an organisation that receptionists gain, there are often opportunities to move into different roles. The service, interpersonal and administration skills receptionists gained are transferable across all industries. Some career options include:
Receptionists may specialise in working in a particular type of role such as:
Admissions officers greet hospital patients and organise their admission and discharge.
Hotel and motel receptionists greet and assist guests.
Medical and dental receptionists work in doctors’ or dental surgeries, hospitals, or private clinics.
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry level receptionists.
More information on receptionists is available on the Careers New Zealand website, and through the Association of Administration Professionals New Zealand.
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of receptionists has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:
542 – Receptionists