Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Painters and Floor Finishers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for painters and floor finishers are relatively good over the next few years, due to growing building activity in Auckland. Other regions still have many opportunities.

How to become a painter or floor finisher

What they do

Painters apply protective and decorative finishing to interior and exterior walls. Painters usually work normal business hours, and can work both on residential and commercial buildings.

Floor finishers lay the top level of flooring on a foundation, using coverings such as carpet, resin or timber. They also typically work regular business hours, and work on-site at residential or commercial buildings.

their tasks may include:

  • erecting scaffolding and ladders, and placing drop sheets to protect adjacent areas from paint splattering
  • preparing surfaces by removing old paint and wallpaper, fixing woodwork, filling holes and cracks, and smoothing and sealing surfaces
  • selecting and preparing paints to required colours by mixing portions of pigment, oil, and thinning and drying additives
  • applying paints, varnishes and stains to surfaces using brushes, rollers and sprays
  • hanging wallpaper, matching patterns and trimming edges
  • cleaning equipment and work areas
  • repairing windows and replacing glass in wooden and metal frames
  • laying and repairing wall and floor tiles.


There are no entry requirements to work as a painter or a floor finisher, but completing a qualification will increase your job and salary prospects.

Painters can do an apprenticeship and gain the National Certificate in Painting & Decorating (Level 4). This typically takes three years to complete.

There are several different qualifications available for floorers, depending on skill level and specialisation. One of them is the National Certificate in Flooring (Level 4), which takes around three years to complete. This certification involves occasionally attending block courses in Christchurch. The BCITO’s website page on floorers has more details on the qualifications available.

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 Painting & Decorating (Level 4, Apprenticeship)National Certificate in Flooring (Level 4, Apprenticeship)
$3,500-4,000 over three years $2,300 over three years

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.

The least expensive way to train as a painter or floor finisher 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

Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), Waikato Institute of Technology (WinTec), Ara Institute of Canterbury, Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and NorthTec all offer pre-trade certificates in painting (Level 2 or 3).

The Industry Training Organisation (ITO) that looks after training for the painting and floor finishing industries is the Building and Construction ITO (BCITO). It arranges apprenticeships nationwide.



There is no licensing for painters or floor finishers.

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing Level 4 certificates in Paining, Decorating, Sign Writing, Ceiling, Wall and Floor Finishing has fallen significantly in the last few years.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


The average annual income of painters and floor finishers is estimated to be $46,500. Apprentices and new employees in painting and floor finishing are likely to enter the trade on the training wage or on the minimum wage.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Painters and floor finishers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
11,595 10,677 12,660 13,730
  -1.2% 2.9% 1.4%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Numbers are for the category “Floor Finishers and Painting Trades”.

The number of painters and floor finishers went down slightly from 2006 to 2013. This was probably because of the general economic downturn during this period.

The demand for painters and floor finishers has increased since 2018. Increased residential and commercial building activity in Auckland has raised demand in the last few years.

We project continued strong growth in employment over the next few years, as there is still strong building activity in several regions.  After 2023 the growth will continue, but at a slower rate.

Employment chart


Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
5% 49% 21% 59% $38,000


Source: Tertiary Education Commission *Three years after completion of L1-3 Certificate – Painting, Decorating, Sign Writing & Other Finishes.

Three years after completing a Level 1-3 Certificate in Painting, Decorating, Sign Writing & Other Finishes, 59% of graduates were employed and 5% were overseas. The median annual salary at that point was around $38,000. 

Floor finishers are on Immigration New Zealand's Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List for the Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Canterbury regions. 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

Since 2010, the number of online job vacancies has increased much more quickly for painters and floor finishers than the average for all occupations. This is largely because of the Christchurch rebuilding and subsequent construction activity in Auckland.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

Painters and floor finishers can go on to become supervisors or foremen for other tradespeople at building sites. Some also establish their own businesses.

BCITO has information on the career opportunities of someone starting out in painting or flooring.BCITO, flooring careers: 
BCITO, painting careers:

Related Occupations

The following occupations are related, but could require different qualifications than painters and floor finishers.

  • Carpenter
  • Carpet and Vinyl Layer
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Floor and Wall Tiler
  • Floor Covering Installer
  • Industrial Spray Painter
  • Joiner

Other information


More information on painters and floor finishers is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand:
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Flooring - Resin Flooring
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Painting and Decorating
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Carpet and Vinyl Installation
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Commercial Flooring


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

The occupation of painters and floor finishers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for their purpose of this report:

332 – Floor Finishers and Painting Trades Workers
7112 – Industry Spraypainters