There’s a shortage of plumbers all over Auckland, so anyone wanting a career in the city with excellent job prospects knows in which direction to look. Plumber in Rodney? Plumber in Remuera? Plumber in Rosedale? No matter where you want to work, given the current skills shortage in the plumbing industry, you can pretty much choose your location.
Since 2013, the number of online job ads for plumbers has increased sharply. Even though the demand has flattened slightly in recent years, the number of advertisements is still relatively high. There is still strong demand for qualified plumbers, and not enough people to fill the vacancies, particularly in Auckland where a construction boom is calling on tradespeople from all fields.
The New Zealand government has placed plumbing on the national Skills Shortage list, and while the call would normally go out for overseas workers to fill that gap – these are not normal times. When immigration is out of the question during the COVID-19 pandemic, an internal solution must be found. A host of initiatives have been launched to attract more people into plumbing apprenticeships, including a programme from Master Plumbers. The organisation has long said the nation needs more plumbers and Masterlink is their response. Masterlink recruits, employs and manages apprentices into plumbing, as well as the associated trades of gasfitting and drainlaying. Masterlink apprentices are placed with ‘host’ businesses for on-job training, while a mentor is assigned to each apprentice to support them towards their qualifications.
Financially, it is well worth attaining those qualifications. Plumbers are paid more than the average wage in New Zealand, and can expect to find a job with relative ease. Recent statistics show that three years after completing a Level 4 Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting & Drainlaying, 82% of graduates were employed and 13% were overseas. The median annual salary at that point was around $60,000.
Once registered, Master Plumbers says a plumber can expect to earn around $55,000 a year. A more experienced registered plumber may earn around $65,000, while experienced, certifying plumbers can earn $75,000, or even more.
The pickings are even richer in Auckland and Christchurch. In Auckland, registered plumbers can earn $60,000-77,000, while in Christchurch they earn $58,000-70,000. Experienced, certifying plumbers can earn over $85,000 in Auckland and over $80,000 in Christchurch.
Experienced, self-employed plumbers can earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year, or even more.
Prospects are good for Auckland plumbers. There’s just not enough of them. Anyone pondering the future as far as their career is concerned might wish to consider this shortage and the fact that, as a qualified plumber, they’ll be in hot demand. As far as jobs and earnings go, plumbing appeals as a plum one.