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.
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:
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.
|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 feesfree.govt.nz or bcito.org.nz. 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.
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: www.business.govt.nz/lbp
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
The average income of bricklayers is estimated to be $48,100 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
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 expect there will be continued demand for bricklayers in Auckland due to the increasing building activity there. A fall in demand is expected from 2021 to 2026.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE Projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of L4 Certificate – Building.
Three years after completing a Level 4 Certificate in Building, 58% of graduates were employed and 10% were overseas. The median annual salary at that point was around $45,000.
Bricklayers and stonemasons are on Immigration New Zealand's Immediate skill shortage list for Auckland/Upper North Island. 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: skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz
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.
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: www.bcito.org.nz/get-career/career-options
The following occupations are related, but could require different qualifications than bricklayers.
More information on bricklayers is available on the Careers New Zealand website.
Careers New Zealand: www.careers.govt.nz
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