Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Cleaners and Caretakers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for cleaners and caretakers are good. Although employment levels are projected to fall, the size of the occupation means there will still be a reasonnable turnover providing openings for new workers. Cleaners also have protected employment status which means that directly employed cleaners are protected during outsourcing.

How to become a cleaner or caretaker

What they do

Various types of cleaners clean cars, carpets, flooring, windows, offices, residential buildings, public buildings, trains, busses and more.

Caretakers also clean commercial or residential, or public buildings, but they are also tasked with performing basic maintenance and sometimes have other tasks such as basic security or administrative work.

Their tasks may include:

  • removing rubbish and emptying containers, bins and trays
  • dusting and polishing furniture, fixtures and fittings
  • vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets, upholstery, curtains and floors
  • applying cleaning agents to remove stains and dirt
  • washing articles to remove stains and dirt
  • picking up, sorting, washing, drying and ironing linen and clothes
  • cleaning windows and other glass surfaces.


There are no entry requirements to work as a cleaner or caretaker. Most skills are learned on the job. People who already work as a cleaner or caretaker can complete an apprenticeship. This leads to a New Zealand Qualification Certificate in Cleaning (Level 2 or 3). Apprenticeships are managed by the industry ITO Careerforce in conjunction with employers.

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

Learning on the job

No study is needed, so starting as a cleaner is free. Completing an apprenticeship through Careerforce costs $200 in fees.

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

The Industry Training Organisation (ITO) that looks after training for cleaners and caretakers is Careerforce. They arrange apprenticeships nationwide.


Income and employment prospects


The annual income for cleaners working full time can be up to $38,000. The average annual income for caretakers is estimated to be around $38,000. Many cleaners and caretakers work on the minimum wage, or just a little more. Some cleaners can earn significantly more due to higher pay rates for specialised cleaning and career progression. Cleaners who progress into supervision or management can earn more than $50,000 per year.

Employment and skill shortages

Cleaners and caretakers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
30,123 29,865 27,010 27,120
  -0.1% -1.7% 0.1%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the category “Cleaners and Laundry Workers”.

The number of cleaners and caretakers in employment fell slightly from 2006 to 2013. This fall is expected to continue through to 2023, but pick up slightly looking out to 2028. Although employment numbers are falling, the large size of this occupation means there will still be high demand for new cleaners in the future.

Cleaners and caretakers may have to work outside office hours to not disturb businesses.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Cleaners and caretakers are not on Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

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

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Cleaners can move into other roles in cleaning companies such as supervisor, manager or customer service representative.

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 cleaners and caretakers.

  • Caretaker
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Cleaner
  • Commercial Cleaner
  • Custodian
  • Groundskeeper
  • Groundsperson
  • Housekeeper
  • Janitor
  • Laundry Worker/Dry-Cleaner
  • Maintenance Officer
  • Street Cleaner
  • Vehicle Groomer/Cleaner
  • Window Cleaner

Other information


More information on cleaners and caretakers 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 cleaners and caretakers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

8111 – Car Detailers
8112 – Commercial Cleaners
8115 – Laundry Workers
811611 – Carpet Cleaner
811612 – Window Cleaner
899111 – Caretaker