Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Telecommunications Trades Workers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects as a telecommunication s technician are currently quite good due in part to government investment in ultra-fast broadband (due for completion in 2019). Demand is expected to start tailing off slightly after 2019. The income for this occupation is above average.

How to become a Telecommunications Trades Worker

What they do

Telecommunications technicians install, maintain and repair electronic communications equipment in telecommunication networks and internet supply systems.

Their tasks may include:

  • examining drawings, specifications and work areas to determine positioning and connections for equipment to be installed
  • locating faults in telecommunications equipment using instruments such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, ammeters and transmission measuring equipment
  • attaching wires and cables to appliances
  • adjusting, replacing and repairing faulty items, and testing equipment using electronic instruments
  • installing cabling for telephone, radio, pay TV and computer transmission
  • joining cables and sealing sheaths with lead and thermoplastic
  • erecting, testing and maintaining aerial and underground wires and cables, and radio and mobile phone antennae
  • installing telecommunications equipment and appliances such as telephones, switchboards and data transmission equipment.

Qualifications needed

To become a telecommunications technician you need to complete a telecommunications apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Telecommunications (Level 3 or 4).

Cost of study

National Certificate in Telecommunications - Level 3 (Apprenticeship
$6,200 over one year

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.

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


Telecommunications apprenticeships can be done through the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation (Connexis) and The Skills Organisation.

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 available on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website.


The Skills Organisation:


Certification and registration


Employers may require telecommunications technicians to become registered electrical service technicians with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing a Level 4 Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Tech has been steady over the last few years, apart from  a peak of 400 in 2013. The number of graduates has stayed over 200 in the years since then.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average income for telecommunications trades workers was around $64,300. However, income is highly variable, and depends on a person’s qualifications and area of specialisation:

  • new telecommunications technicians can expect to start on about $30,000 a year
  • technicians with more than five years’ experience usually earn between $35,000 and $50,000 a year
  • senior technicians and those in supervisory positions usually earn between $50,000 and $70,000 a year, but may earn more.
Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Telecommunications trades workers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
2,280 2,493 2,600 2,710
  1.3% 0.7% 0.7%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Electronics and Telecommunications Trades Workers”

Employment for telecommunication trades workers grew from 2006 to 2013. This growth is projected to continue but at a slower rate until 2028.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

The job of electrical linesworker appears on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage lists. Electronic equipment trades worker, cabler (data and telecommunications), telecommunications cable jointer, and telecommunications technician are on the immediate skill shortage list (all regions). If a job appears on the lists, it means the government is actively encouraging skilled workers from overseas to work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website. Other occupations related to telecommunications trades workers are not on the skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Online vacancies for telecommunication trades workers have started to grow again after a dip.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Vacancies for telecommunications trades workers are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Telecommunication trades workers may be promoted to senior technician or management roles.

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 telecommunication trades workers.

  • Cabler
  • Electrical Line Mechanic
  • Electrician
  • Electronic Instrument Trades Worker
  • Electronics Trades Worker
  • Line Mechanic
  • Technical Cable Jointer
  • Telecommunications Technician

Other information

More information on telecommunications trades workers 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 Telecommunications


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

The occupation of telecommunication trades workers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

342211 – Electrical Linesworker (Aus) / Electrical Line Mechanic (NZ)
3423 – Electronics Trades Workers
3424 – Telecommunications Trades Workers