Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site


Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

The chances of getting work as model are limited because the fashion industry in New Zealand is small and competition for roles is very high. Many in this industry work as freelancers and it can be hard to get established.

How to become a model

What they do

Models show off clothes and other products by wearing or using them in printed or recorded advertisements, or live on catwalks and fashion shows.

Their tasks may include:

  • modelling garments, footwear and fashion accessories for customers, sales personnel and fashion designers
  • posing for television, video and cinema commercials and for still photographs which appear in magazines, newspapers, catalogues and on billboards
  • posing as subjects for paintings, sculptures and other types of art.

Qualifications needed

There are no specific entry requirements to become a model. Modelling agencies look for people with distinctive facial features, and a slim/toned body. Having a characteristic look is important.

Modelling agencies often have workshops and seminars where people who are interested in modelling can attend (for a fee).

Cost of study

There is no specific study requirement for models, so the least expensive way is to train on your own, for example, by practicing poses and looks from fashion shows. Workshops and courses from modelling agencies can often cost several hundred dollars for a course lasting only one or a few days.

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

Modelling agencies hold workshops and courses in New Zealand’s biggest cities. Check the agencies’ websites for further details.

Completed qualifications

There is no data available on completed qualifications as there are no formal qualifications in modelling.

Income and employment prospects


The average annual income for models is estimated to be around $27,900. This reflects the fact that most models work as part-time freelancers, coupled with the lack of work and intense competition for roles. However, for the very few models that have international success, incomes can be very high.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Models’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
120 90 90 90
  -4.0% 0.0% 0.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Projected growth is based on the broader category of “Miscellaneous Sales Support Workers”.

The number of models employed in New Zealand fell from 120 to 90 from 2006 to 2013. Future growth for the wider category of ‘Miscellaneous Sales Support Workers’ is projected to be very small in the near future.

There is intense competition for available roles, which means it can be very hard to find work. Models also tend to be freelancers, which can feel less secure than permanent roles. 

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Models are not on Immigration New Zealand's skills shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Modelling jobs are usually obtained through agencies, or directly from connections. It is often be hard for new models without connections or a relationship with an agency to enter the industry.

Some modelling jobs and audition calls are listed on the creative arts casting site Starnow.


Career path

There is no clear career path for models. Pay rates vary depending on your ability and experience, location, and the type of work.

Related occupations

The following are alternative titles or related occupations. These occupations may require different skills than modelling.

  • Actor
  • Dancer
  • Entertainer
  • Product Demonstrator

Other information


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

639111 – Model