Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site


Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

New Zealand has a shortage of trained, qualified electricians, so employment prospects are good. Demand is high in Auckland, where electricians are needed for house building and commercial work.

How to become an electrician

What they do    

Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems and equipment in a wide range of areas. They are involved construction and maintenance of both residential and commercial properties. Electricians do a wide range of work, depending on what they specialise in.

Their tasks may include:

  • examining blueprints, wiring diagrams and specifications to determine sequences and methods of operation
  • measuring and laying out installation reference points
  • selecting, cutting and connecting wire and cable to terminals and connectors
  • using electrical and electronic test instruments to trace and diagnose faults
  • repairing or replacing faulty wiring and defective parts
  • positioning and installing electrical switchboards
  • connecting electrical systems to power supply
  • testing continuity of circuit
  • installing, testing and adjusting electric and mechanical parts of lifts.

Qualifications needed

To become an electrician you need to complete a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering – Electrician for Registration (Level 4) or, for electricity supply electricians, a National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Level 4). You can complete these qualifications as part of an apprenticeship with a registered electrician. An apprenticeship usually takes three to four years to complete, and involves a mix of theory and practical on-the-job learning.

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 Electrical Engineering/ Electricity Supply (Level 4, Apprenticeship)
$4,000-$6,500 over three years

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.

Costs may be subsidised or fully paid when done as part of an apprenticeship.

More information on apprenticeships is available on the Skills Organisation website. This site also outlines the path students can take to become a registered electrician. Connexis, the Infrastructure Industry Trade Organisation (ITO), provides information on electricity supply electricians. The Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) provides work requirements for different careers in the electrical trade.

Skills Organisation:
Electrical Workers Registration Board - Careers:

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.


Where to study

Electrician courses are available around the country, but you will most likely study in a region close to where you are completing your apprenticeship.

The EWRB has a comprehensive list of electrician training providers.

Electrical Workers Registration Board:


Electricians need to be registered with the EWRB. To apply for registration you need to have a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering and you must pass an electrical regulations exam.

In June 2014, there were 25,781 registered electrical workers, up 7.8% on the previous year.

Number of licenced electrical workers chart

Source: Electrical Workers Registration Board

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average income for electricians was estimated to be around $60,900. Most electricians earn between $40,000 and $70,000 a year.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Electricians’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
13,716 13,893 17,230 19,150
  0.2% 3.7% 1.8%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.

The number of employed electricians has remained steady for the last several years, with very little impact from the global recession. Employment numbers are projected to increase significantly until 2023. After that, there will still be growth, but not as strong as 2019-2023.

It is notable that there are a large number of registered electricians who are not currently working as electricians (around 5,000). This might be because they are working in related fields.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Electricians are on Immigration New Zealand's Long Term Skill Shortage List for all regions.  Electric Line Mechanics are on the  Long Term Skill Shortage List for all regions, and the Construction and Infrastructure Skills Shortage List for Canterbury.  If a job appears on a 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 vacancies for electricians has increased steadily since 2013, and in June 2019, there were more than twice as many advertisements as in June 2013.

Jobs advertised chart


Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

After several years of experience, many electricians become contractors, running their own business. Electrical contractors may plan, supervise or work on electrical systems or equipment.

Most electricians work for or operate a small business. Often these businesses provide electrical services to homes and other small businesses. Industrial and specialist electricians can work in a wide range of areas, including:

  • the dairy industry
  • boat building
  • the petrochemical industry (oil rigs and refineries)
  • electricity supply and manufacturing
  • engineering
  • construction
  • domestic (house building/maintenance)

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 electricians.

  • Automotive Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Electrical Contractor
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Electrical Fitter
  • Electrical Inspector
  • Electronic Trades Worker
  • Line Mechanic
  • Plumber

Other information


More information on electricians is available on the websites of Careers NZ and the Skills Organisation. The "Just the Job" videos also contain useful information.

Careers NZ:
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Electrical Engineering
Just the Job video clip: A Career as an Electrican - Training with the Electrical Training Company
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Electricity Supply
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Power Technician & Line Mechanic


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

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

3411 – Electricians