Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Sales Representatives

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

More than 40,000 people are employed as sales representatives, making it one of the most common jobs in New Zealand. The chances of getting a job are reasonable while the economy stays strong.

How to become a sales representative

What they do

Sales representatives promote market and sell products or services to businesses, professional establishments, and wholesale or retail outlets.

Skills employers look for

According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:

  • sales and business ability
  • an ability to build relationships and serve customers
  • strong communication, organisation and time management skills
  • ability to work with Microsoft Office software.

 Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool

Qualifications needed

There are no specific requirements for becoming a sales representative. Many employers do, however, prefer a tertiary qualification in sales or marketing, and/or a background working with the products sold.

The New Zealand Certificate in Sales (Level 3) is the entry-level qualification you need to become a junior sales professional in the sales industry. It can be done part-time over one year.

A driver’s licence is also usually required.

Cost of study

New Zealand Certificate in Sales (Level 3)
$145 over one year. Some employers offer this qualification as on-job training at little or no cost.

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 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.

New Zealand Certificate in Sales Level 3: 
Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

The New Zealand Certificate in Sales can be gained on-the-job through Industry Training Organisations ServiceIQ, Competenz, and Skills Active.

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing Level 3 retail qualifications has fluctuated significantly during the last decade. More recently, numbers of people completing their qualifications has been around 800 per year.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2017, the average income for sales representatives was estimated to be $46,200.

Estimated Average Income

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

Your income as a sales representative depends on several factors, including what product you are selling, the number of customers, and the size of the company you work for. Sales representatives may also earn bonuses linked to meeting sales targets.

Some sales representatives work on a partial-commission basis, meaning their income is directly related to the number of sales they make.

Employment and skill shortages

Sales Representatives’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
42,927 43,533 53,770 60,844
  0.2% 3.6% 2.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Insurance Agents and Sales Representatives”.

The number of sales representatives was stable from 2006 to 2013. The number of workers is expected to grow at around 3.6% per year until 2021, and 2.5% per year to 2026. More than 50,000 people are employed as sales representatives, making it a very large occupation group in New Zealand.

Retail sales have been growing in recent years. This should lead to increased numbers of jobs for sales representatives.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online advertisements for sales representatives has slightly lagged behind the average for all job vacancies since around 2011.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Sales representative vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Sales representatives often specialise in particular types of products in various retail or wholesale firms. Sales representatives may move into related fields, such as advertising and marketing.

After some experience, some sales representatives start their own businesses selling products.

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 sales representatives.

  • Advertising, Sales, and Marketing Manager
  • Agricultural Field Representative
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Insurance Agent
  • Marketing Representative
  • Retail Sales Assistant
  • Sales Representative
  • Salesperson

Other information


More information on sales representatives is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


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

The occupation of sales representatives has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

611 – Insurance Agents and Sales Representatives