Learning and working in the service industries

Find out about standards, opportunities and careers

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What's the work like?

What kind of careers are found along this pathway?

There are a lot of different types of careers in this Pathway. Think about planning going away on holiday. Almost every aspect will involve at least one services industry, from ensuring that the plane is safe, your rental car is clean, the parking machines work, the people welcoming you to the hotel and tourist attractions are helpful and the facilities are up to scratch, and the food and shopping are amazing. Should something bad happen, be supported to change your travel arrangements and for insurance to pay out.

People working in this Pathway also provide humanitarian aid as part of our Defence Force, help people find their new homes, and provide insurance, financial, and legal advice.

There are also a lot of part-time opportunities in this sector, which is great if you want to work non-standard hours or need another income.

This Pathway includes a huge variety of careers within these industries:

Aviation and Airport Services

Includes businesses involved in aircraft manufacturing and repair, airport operations, and air transport services.

Business & Professional Services

Includes a wide range of businesses including legal services, accounting, parking services, business associations and labour associations.

Cleaning Services

Includes businesses that clean the interior and exterior of buildings and some other cleaning services such as street sweeping and cleaning the inside of vehicles.

Contact Centres and Industry Support Services

Includes call centres, labour supply services, gardening, and a range of administrative services.

Financial and Advisory Services

Includes a range of businesses including banks, insurance companies and other financial services.

Government, Security and Defence Services

Includes central and local government, the justice system, defence forces, and security services.

Hospitality and Food Services

Includes accommodation, cafes & restaurants, takeaway food services, catering, pubs & bars and clubs.

Retail and Distribution

Includes a wide range of businesses that are involved in the wholesale and retail of a range of products including fuel, groceries, houseware and clothing.

Real Estate and Rental Services

Includes a range of businesses including real estate agencies, property management companies and car rental companies.

Tourism and Travel

Includes a wide range of businesses that provide services to tourists. It is a cross cutting industry that includes parts of other industries such as hospitality, retail, and aviation.

Where might you end up?

In any of the services industries you can learn, grow, and work your way up. There will often be opportunities for on-the-job training to help you progress and to start your own successful business should you wish to. The skills you gain are transferrable and valuable to many roles, making it easier to take up opportunities to change direction as your interests and opportunities grow.

Roles in this sector can be truly inspirational, and you can earn very good money.  

What's great about this industry?

And why is it important to New Zealand?

People who work in this sector have a huge impact on people’s lives from where and how they live and work, buy goods and services, receive support and protection, and explore our world. Many also contribute to our reputation internationally.

The Services Industry employed close to one million people in 2021, over a third of all workers in Aotearoa New Zealand. They were employed in 306,000 businesses and contributed over $109 billion to Aotearoa New Zealand’s economy.

This is me. How do I follow this pathway?

Plan a course and track standards for careers in this sector.

NCEA Level 2 will give you a good foundation for success in entry level jobs or apprenticeships. You may need to first get University Entrance for other jobs. Use the Profile Builder to see how well your subject selection helps prepare you with skills and knowledge valued by industries and employers in this sector.

To make the most of your opportunities, you will then need to complete qualifications by undertaking further study and training. Whether you can do this while working (for example, as an apprentice) or need to study on-campus will vary depending on exactly what career you choose to focus on.