Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Automotive Technicians & Electricians

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Prospects for automotive technicians and electricians are quite good. Demand for skilled mechanics is increasing due to increasingly complex electronics in newer cars.

Opportunities are particularly good for heavy-vehicle technicians. They are needed to service the freight industry and the large earthmoving equipment and trucks of the mining and forestry industries. Those willing and able to work with computer diagnostic equipment are also in demand.

How to become an automotive technician or  automotive electrician

What they do 

Automotive technicians service and repair light or heavy vehicles, contracting and agricultural machinery, and their parts and systems.

Automotive electricians install, maintain and repair electrical wiring, parts, and electrical and electronic systems in vehicles and marine equipment. Modern vehicle technology has seen these trades begin to merge.

Their tasks may include:

  • diagnosing electrical and mechanical faults in motor vehicles and small engines
  • dismantling engines and electrical systems
  • repairing and replacing worn and defective parts
  • installing electrical equipment and electronic components in motor vehicles
  • testing and adjusting electrical and mechanical systems and parts after repair for proper performance
  • performing scheduled maintenance on motor vehicles.


Qualifications include the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Heavy Engineering), and the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Vehicle Servicing). The qualifications are registered at Level 3 or 4 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

At least three years secondary education is useful for entry to these qualifications, with a good standard in English and mathematics. MITO also offers StartUp® to secondary school students; this allows them to achieve the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Foundation Skills) Level 1. 

Where to study

MITO is the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) that facilitates on the job training for automotive technicians and electricians. Through MITO, qualifications are achieved through New Zealand Apprenticeship training programmes while working full-time in the industry. Generally, the training takes around three to four and a half years to complete. As part of the apprenticeship, MITO apprentices will get up to 80 hours of off-the-job training every year through a local polytechnic or specialist training provider. Polytechnics throughout New Zealand also provide automotive engineering courses.

MITO offers a range of Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications that can be taken as a part of an apprenticeship. Programmes offered relate to either heavy or light vehicles, as well as more specialised areas such as automotive machining (engine repair), motorcycles, and advanced Level 5 programmes for supervisory or diagnostic technicians.

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

The least expensive way to train as an automotive technician or electrician is to become an apprentice and learn on the job. As an apprentice you can earn while gaining a qualification, and if completed as an employer-funded apprenticeship there may be no fees for the apprentice.

Current fees for a MITO apprenticeship are $1,145 (GST exclusive) per year, which includes all training, training resources and learner support.

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: 

Completed qualifications

The total number of learners completing Level 4 certification in automotive engineering and technology has dropped below 200 for the first time for several years.  

Qualification completions chart


Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average income for automotive technicians and electricians was estimated to be $50,700.

Estimated Average Income

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

A 2018 Motor Trade Association Survey found that:

  • The average hourly rate for a starting apprentice is $18.07
  • Once qualified, automotive technicians mostly earn between $118-$41 per hour (depending on experience and if certified to perform vehicle inspections)
  • The average hourly rate for a qualified auto electrical technician is $29.37, sitting within a range between $20 - $40 per hour
  • The average hourly rate for a Heavy Vehicle technician is $30.42.

Employment and skill shortages

Automotive technicians and electricians’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
18,333 17,724 16,940 18,650
  -0.5% -0.8% 1.6%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Automotive Electricians and Mechanics”

The employment level for automotive technicians and electricians has remained relatively steady during the last few years, but employment is expected to grow by about 1.6% a year to 2028.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
10% 23% 2% 82% $56,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of L4 Certificate - Automotive Engineering & Technology.

Three years after completing a level 4 certificate, most graduates were in employment. Some were in further study or overseas. The median salary was $56,000 per year.

Automotive electricians and diesel motor mechanics are on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. Motor mechanics (general)  and automotive air conditioning technicians are on the regional skills shortage list for all regions. If a job appears on the lists, 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:

Automotive technicians with electrical and mechanical skills are especially in demand. Another area where there is often strong demand is heavy-vehicle technicians in the transportation industries.

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job advertisements for motor mechanics have risen quickly since 2013, and much quicker than the average for all occupations. This should mean that it is easier to find work as an automotive technician than it was a few years ago.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Automotive electrician and automotive technician vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites. There are specialist recruitment agencies for the automotive industry, such as Automotive Employment NZ and Automotive and Technical Personnel. Many jobs can also be found via word-of-mouth or by approaching employers proactively.

Trade Me Jobs: 
Automotive Employment NZ: 
Automotive and Technical Personnel:

Career path

Experienced automotive technicians and electricians often progress to business management and ownership.

Trained technicians can move to related areas in the automotive industry, such as sales, marketing, parts and accessories, and management.

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 automotive technician and electricians.

  • Automotive Parts Salesperson
  • Automotive Refinisher
  • Automotive Spraypainter
  • Automotive Trimmer
  • Automotive Underbody and General Service Technician
  • Coachbuilder
  • Collision Repair Technician
  • Diesel Motor Mechanic
  • Exhaust and Muffler Repairer
  • Heavy Vehicle Automotive Technician
  • Light Vehicle Automotive Technician
  • Motor Mechanic
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • Panelbeater
  • Radiator Repairer
  • Small Engine Mechanic
  • Vehicle Body Builder
  • Vehicle Electrician
  • Vehicle Painter

Other information


More information on automotive technicians and electricians is available on the following websites and "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand: (Auto Technician)
Careers New Zealand: (Auto Electrician)
Vocational Pathway: 
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Automotive Electrical Engineering 
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Automotive Engineering
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Automotive Heavy Engineering - Agricultural Equipment
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Automotive Heavy Engineering
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Automotive Heavy Engineering  
Just the Job video clip: A Career in the Motor Industry - Automotive Services Advisor
Just the Job video clip: A Career as an Automotive Technician
Just the Job video clip: A Career in the Motor Industry - Automotive Technician
Just the Job video clip: A Career in the Motor Industry - Automotive Workshop Supervisor
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Motor Trimming
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Motorcycle Engineering


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

The occupation of automotive technicians and electricians has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

3211 – Automotive Electricians
3212 – Motor Mechanics