Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

The chances of getting a job as a receptionist are fair. Although many jobs are available and vacancies open up regularly, there is strong competition for these positions.

How to become a receptionist

What they do

Receptionists greet visitors and clients, and deal with enquiries and requests. They need to have a sound knowledge of their organisation’s services, structure and people, along with good interpersonal and customer-service skills. Their work includes scheduling appointments, keeping records, answering phones, and doing other administrative tasks.

Their tasks may include:

  • greeting and welcoming visitors, and directing them to the appropriate person
  • arranging and recording details of appointments
  • answering inquiries and providing information on the goods, services and activities of the organisation
  • answering, connecting and transferring telephone calls
  • receiving and resolving complaints from clients and the public
  • receiving and distributing correspondence, facsimile messages and deliveries
  • maintaining the reception area
  • advising on and arranging reservations and accommodation
  • performing other clerical tasks such as word processing, data entry, filing, mail despatch and photocopying.

Qualifications needed

There are no specific entry requirements to become a receptionist, as the skills you need are usually learned on the job. A minimum of NCEA Level 2 maths, English and information management is recommended. Previous customer service experience, such as work in a store or cafe, is also useful for receptionists.

A National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing (Level 3) is sought after and would improve job prospects. You could study for the more advanced National Certificate in Business Administration (Level 4) part-time over 1–2 years while working or achieve the qualification through workplace based assessments.

Receptionists need to have computer and word-processing skills, administration skills (including telephone skills), and knowledge of administration policies, systems and procedures.

Medical receptionists and admissions officers may also need to know about hospital and staff routines, medical services, booking procedures and timetables, and have an understanding of medical terms.

Cost of study

National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing (Level 3)
$2,500 over around 20 weeks

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

A number of providers and polytechnics offer relevant courses. Once in a job, you can complete further qualifications through workplace based assessments. There are also several relevant courses, conferences and professional development opportunities for receptionists available year round. Many employers have professional development budgets to cover these.

Professional registration

Receptionists may register with the Association of Administration Professionals NZ (AAPNZ).

Registration is voluntary but members can work towards AAPNZ certification, which can improve skills and work prospects. Achievement of AAPNZ certification requires a Level 5 diploma or above, plus other criteria.

Further information on this can be found on the AAPNZ website.

AAPNZ, certification:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing Level 4 Certificates in the broader category “Office studies” has decreased since 2011.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2018, the average income for receptionists was estimated to be $32,500.

Estimated Average Income

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

Employment and skill shortages

Receptionists’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
27,402 24,735 24,850 26,050
  -1.5% 0.1% 0.8%

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

Employment numbers for receptionists decreased between 2006 and 2013. This trend is projected to slow and reverse somewhat, and employment is expected to remain relatively stable until 2028. There are opportunities for job seekers, but positions are highly contested.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Where to find job vacancies

Since 2011, online job advertisements for receptionists have tracked just above the average for all vacancies.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Receptionist vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs, NZ Government Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 
NZ Government Jobs:

Career path

With the broad knowledge of an organisation that receptionists gain, there are often opportunities to move into different roles. The service, interpersonal and administration skills receptionists gained are transferable across all industries. Some career options include:

  • administration officer
  • clinical coder
  • personal/executive assistant
  • medical records officer
  • medical typist

Receptionists may specialise in working in a particular type of role such as:

Admissions officer
Admissions officers greet hospital patients and organise their admission and discharge.

Hotel/motel receptionist
Hotel and motel receptionists greet and assist guests.

Medical/dental receptionist
Medical and dental receptionists work in doctors’ or dental surgeries, hospitals, or private clinics.

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 receptionists.

  • Administration Officer
  • Admissions Officer
  • Clinical Order
  • Contact Centre Worker
  • Executive Assistant
  • Medical Records Officer
  • Medical Typist
  • Medical/Dental Receptionist
  • Office Manager
  • Personal Assistant
  • Team Leader

Other information


More information on receptionists is available on the Careers New Zealand website, and through the Association of Administration Professionals New Zealand.

Careers New Zealand: 
Association of Administration Professionals New Zealand:


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

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

542 – Receptionists