Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site


Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

The construction boom that will last for another few years means that there are plenty of opportunities for bricklayers, particularly in Auckland. Other regions still have many opportunities.

ow to become a bricklayer

What they do

Bricklayers build structures like walls, houses and chimneys, using bricks, stones or concrete blocks. On smaller projects, they usually work alone, while on bigger projects they work as a team in coordination with other tradespeople.

Their tasks may include:

  • studying plans and specifications to determine materials required, dimensions and installation procedures
  • erecting frameworks, roof framing and scaffolding, and laying sub-floors and floorboards
  • operating machines and hand tools to cut and shape stones, bricks and timber
  • laying bricks and stone blocks in rows and securing with mortar to construct walls
  • assembling prepared wood to form structures ready to install
  • nailing fascia panels, sheathing roofs, and fitting wall cladding and door and window frames
  • checking vertical and horizontal alignment.


There is no entry requirement to work as a bricklayer, but employers are increasingly looking for people with (or willing to work towards) a National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Levels 3 and 4), which is mainly done as part of an apprenticeship.

The National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Level 4) typically takes about four years to complete. You need this qualification, or its equivalent, if you want to become a licensed bricklayer under the government's ‘streamline’ licensed building practitioner process. It is still possible for you to become a licensed building practitioner without being qualified. This is done by undergoing a more extensive assessment based on your experience.

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.


Cost of study

National Certificate in Brick & Block Laying (Level 4, Apprenticeship)National Certificate in Refractory Installation (Level 3, Apprenticeship)
$3,150 over four years $1,600 over 14 months

Average costs in 2019 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free for their first two yeears of apprenticeship, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to or Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

The least expensive way to train as a bricklayer is to become an apprentice. That way, you can earn while gaining a 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.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

Apprenticeship training in bricklaying is arranged nationwide by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO). This includes both level 3 and 4 qualifications.

A pre-trade Level 3 Certificate in Brick and Block Laying is offered at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec).



Bricklayers with the right qualifications or experience can apply to become licensed building practitioners. This is done through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Licensing may be approved once an assessor has reviewed the application, called referees about prior work history, and conducted a phone interview with the applicant.

MBIE Building and Housing:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing Level 4 qualifications in the category Bricklaying and Stonemasonry has been steady at around 20 since 2009, except for a peak of 50 in 2012. This means there has been a low and decreasing supply of new bricklayers over the last few years.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


The average income of bricklayers is estimated to be $49,600 per year. Bricklaying apprentices are likely to enter the trade on the training wage or on the minimum wage, whereas experienced and skilled bricklayers usually earn more than the average.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Bricklayers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
2,769 2,040 1,940 1,960
  -4.3% -0.9% 0.2%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE Projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Bricklayers, Carpenters and Joiners”.

Bricklayers’ employment decreased sharply from 2006 to 2013. Some of this decline was probably caused by the global economic downturn in 2008, and most of it probably occurred before 2011. Increased housing construction in Auckland has contributed to larger demand for bricklayers in the last few years.

Over the next three years, we project there will be continued demand for bricklayers in Auckland due to the increasing building activity there. A fall in demand is projected from 2019 to 2023.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE Projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
10% 23% 2% 77% $53,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of L4 Certificate – Building.

Three years after completing a Level 4 Certificate in Building, 77% of graduates were employed and 10% were overseas. The median annual salary at that point was around $53,000.

Bricklayers and stonemasons are on Immigration New Zealand's Regional skill shortage list for Auckland, Northland and Christchurch. 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:

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job ads for bricklayers increased rapidly up to 2017. There is still demand. but it has fallen in the last two years.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

As bricklayers gain more experience, they often get more responsibility, for example, supervising other bricklayers and apprentices. After several years of experience, many bricklayers establish their own businesses.

BCITO provides an overview of the potential career path of someone starting out in bricklaying.

BCITO, Career progression:

Related occupations

The following occupations are related, but could require different qualifications than bricklayers.

  • Building and Construction Labourer
  • Building Contractor
  • Building Insulator
  • Carpenter
  • Concrete Worker
  • Fencer
  • Roading Construction Worker
  • Stonemason

Other information


More information on bricklayers 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 boat bricklayers has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for their purpose of this report:

3311 – Bricklayers and Stonemasons