Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Hospitality Workers

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for hospitality workers are good. Opportunities are expected to increase as the global economy strengthens and tourism increase. High job turnover also contributes to making it easier for new workers to enter this occupation. Income is below average, but that reflects the high proportion in the industry who work part-time.

How to become a hospitality worker

What they do

A hospitality worker provides services to patrons of hotels, bars, cafés, restaurants, clubs, quick-service restaurants, catering companies, casinos, or similar businesses. Work as a hospitality worker can include:

  • customer service
  • serving and providing bar service
  • providing restaurant table service
  • café  and counter service
  • clearing used dishes, cutlery and glassware from dining and drinking areas
  • supervising and coordinating the activities of hotel porters and other staff
  • explaining and enforcing safety regulations in hotels
  • carrying luggage and escorting guests
  • housekeeping work in hotels
  • booking tours, taxis and restaurants for guests.

There are varied roles for hospitality workers, for instance: bar attendant, barista, café worker, café manager, gaming worker, hotel service manager, waiter, busser, housekeeper, front-office receptionist, doorperson, or luggage porter.

Qualifications needed

You don’t need any specific qualifications to enter the hospitality industry. However, if you are interested, there are New Zealand Certificates in Hospitality (Levels 2 to 5), with specialisations in accommodation, cookery, food and beverage service, catering services, or quick-service restaurants.

If you want to be a manager in the hospitality industry, you must get a general manager’s licence and licence controller qualification. Apprenticeships are available in the hospitality industry. These provide workplace-based learning, and allow students to gain Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications.

More information on qualification pathways and apprenticeships can be found on the ServiceIQ website.


Cost of study

New Zealand Certificate in Hospitality (Level 4)
$6,500 per year. Some employers offer this qualification as on-job training at little or no cost.

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

Qualifications in hospitality can be obtained at a range of polytechnics and private training organisations (PTOs), as well as with on-the-job training organised by ServiceIQ.

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing Level 4  and above qualifications has increased since 2011.

Qualification completions chart


Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average income for hospitality workers was estimated to be around $21,300. This figure reflects the high proportion of part-time employment in the industry. The national average hourly rate for hospitality workers was $18.09 per hour.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Hospitality Workers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
36,357 36,192 40,070 44,410
  -0.1% 1.7% 1.7%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the category “Hospitality workers”.

Employment of hospitality workers was stable from 2006 to 2013. Longer-term, demand for hospitality workers is expected to rise as the economy remains strong and tourism increases. Employment growth of about 1.7% per year is projected  to 2028.

The chances of getting a job are generally good, as employment numbers are large and staff turnover is high.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
9% 26% 6% 57% $39,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of L4 Certificate - Food & Hospitality.

Three years after graduation, most people completing a Level 4 certificate in food and hospitality were either in employment or further study. The median salary was around $37,000 three years after graduation.

Where to find job vacancies

Waiters is one of the largest categories of hospitality workers. The number of job online job advertisements for waiters has followed quite closely the overall trend in job advertisements since 2013, but fell in 2017.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Starting out in the hospitality industry will see you working in roles like bar attendant, café worker and luggage worker.

Demand is high for café and restaurant managers (including bar managers). If you get experience and show your ability, you can rise into these more senior roles, which have greater job security and higher incomes.

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 hospitality workers.

  • Barista
  • Bartender
  • Café Manager
  • Café  Worker
  • Hotel Manager
  • Hotel Porter
  • Kitchenhand
  • Maitre d’hôtel
  • Receptionist
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Retail Sales Assistant
  • Waiter/Waitress
  • Wine Steward


More information about a career as a hospitality worker 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 with Carl's Jr.
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Hospitality
Just the Job video clip: A Career with KFC
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Maritime Hospitality - Interislander
Just the Job video clip: A Career with Pizza Hut
Just the Job video clip: A Career with Skycity - An Overview
Just the Job video clip: A Career with Skycity - Restaurant Manager
Just the Job video clip: A Career with Skycity - Table Games Dealer


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

The occupation of hospitality workers has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

431 – Hospitality Workers