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Automotive Technicians

Automotive Technicians, Auto Electricians, Technical  Support and Advisory staff and Service Managers

UPDATED March 3, 2021 

Please note: Automotive Employment NZ Ltd has attempted to be as accurate as possible and to provide guidelines for the most popular sectors of the New Zealand motor industry but take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Any hiring decision should be based on a range of knowledge from a variety of sources.

​Employees should note that while these rates may provide a guide, to gain an accurate indication of rates you may need to consider how your skills and experience compare to others in the workplace. Your work performance, the stability of overall employment, knowledge of the product, development of your skills and or qualifications, personal grooming, communication skills and the length of service you have extended to your current employer may all impact on potential earnings. These aspects of your employment should also be weighed against the economic conditions prevailing in the location you work or intend to move to.

Offshore candidates should note rates and salaries are quoted in New Zealand dollars. Please also check the date above as information provided is current only to this date.

Automotive Technicians/Mechanics Light Automotive
National median rate of $28 per hour

Trade qualified Automotive Technicians are presently paid NZ$27 to $35 per hour for new hires.

The upper end of this scale is for certified master technicians considered irreplaceable or forepersons with specific franchise diagnostic skills and five years plus experience with one marque.  

Other factors affecting rates are population density or a specific difficulty in securing skills due to a particularly remote location. As a rule of thumb, the larger the population the higher the rates, the higher cost of living in these centres is usually the income driver. 

Lower rates are normally paid where an employer has concerns as to the depth of skill held by the employee or a more transient or poor employment history. Trainees or apprentices should expect to commence on rates considerably lower than the rates shown.

Locations of New Zealand considered in demand tend to have a greater number of applicants applying for roles, subsequently the law of supply and demand impacts income and rates could be lower in these areas.    

The converse applies also; employers in locations not considered in demand, where skills are difficult to locate may need to adjust rates above the norm to attract skills. 

Employees should note that there are many aspects relevant to employers in structuring wages rates, principally among these is the ability to gain a return from your skills, the tenure of your employment, your productivity,  efficiency, technical skills and qualification extensions such as an AVI certificate or brand related diagnostic qualifications may all contribute to earnings. 

It is also common for many employers to pay productivity and efficiency bonuses, tool allowances and overtime. There are clearly many variants on these bonuses but often achievement of bonuses can add $1 to 3 per hour.

Automotive Electricians 

Median rate $35 per hour

Auto Electricians in NZ are in short supply.  Rates have wild variances with some regional areas paying $32 to $35 per hour.

In Auckland rate increases have accelerated dramatically with border closures.  In the Auckland Metropolitan area rates commend $35 to $45 pe hour.

Those Auto Electricians who possess both automotive and heavy diesel skills are in particular demand.     

Team Leaders/Forepersons
The national median rate of $33 per hour

Responsible for technical supervision of staff, technical training and sometimes content of hands-on work, the team leader may work as much as 50% on tools [occasionally 100% off tools]. Employees will note the title and duties of this role are not consistent throughout the industry. Assuming however that it is a senior technical role as described above, the rates vary between $31 and $40 with an extremely high-end rate of $45 per hour which is rarely ever seen. The top end of this scale would be for a master technician/foreperson with combined hands-on technical and supervisory responsibilities or for technicians employed in areas that are deemed hard to fill. The top end rates are usually only paid in Auckland in very few dealerships where these top end, brand-specific skills are still hard to secure and employees are irreplaceable.                                                 .

Automotive Service Advisers/Service Writers/Service Consultants
National median rate of pay providing for an OTE of $55000 to $70,000 per annum

Service advisers are defined as a trade qualified automotive technicians who are employed in front line roles. The positions include upselling service and liaison regarding technical issues as well as costing, invoicing, booking and dealing directly with the customer.

Salaries range from $55,000 per annum to $70'000.  Added incentives can find employees in this category earning $65'000 to $90’000.  Service advisers at the lower end of the salary scale tend to have secured employment in regions with smaller populations. Candidates operating from large flagship franchises tend to be earning base salaries of $65000 although the base salaries are commonly $55000 to $65000 dependant on how incentives are calculated, e.g., the higher the at-risk component of income the higher the overall income.  

Company cars provided to employees are increasingly common to the extent of becoming the norm.   

Service Controllers
The national median rate of $70,000

Service Controllers are responsible for distribution and control of incoming work to the technicians, employees are trade qualified automotive technicians [mechanics] The pay scales range between $65,000 and $80’0000 dependent on location. Company cars are often provided to senior staff with extended employment tenures.

Service Receptionists/Non technically qualified service advisors  
The national median rate of $50,000 to $68,000 includes incentives. 

Defined as front line receptionists in a service department these employees are generally not trade qualified.  This role differs from a technical service adviser.  The role is meeting and greeting the customer, booking in vehicles, liaising with customers re-delivery, invoicing and customer follow up.

The role is salaried and pays between $50,000 and $65,000. Additional incentives are common taking the OTE to between $65'000 and $80'000.

Vehicle Inspectors and Compliance

Vehicle inspector,  AVI/WOF light passenger vehicles

Median rate $28 to $30 per hour

Vehicle testing inspectors: AVI, “COF A” Roadworthiness Inspectors
Median rate $28 to $30 per hour  [Taxis, School minibus, commercial light passenger carriers]    

Vehicle testing inspectors, “COF B” [Heavy Diesel] 
Median rate $32 to $34 per hour

Responsible for ensuring vehicles comply with government, NZTA standards as to roadworthiness and the issuing of “warrant of fitness” and “certificate of fitness”.

The roles range from $30 per hour in some regions up to $37.00 per hour at the extreme end for COF B accreditation. New employees from outside New Zealand usually commence at the lower end and cannot commence inspections until an AVI certificate, “authorised vehicle inspectors certificate” is attained. Technicians are required to have a minimum of five years of recent experience as a technician or diesel mechanic to qualify.

COF inspectors secure a higher hourly rate due to previous experience in the heavy diesel sector which generally commands higher rates due to skills shortages.

Compliance Inspectors 
Median rate $28 to $30 per hour  

Inspecting vehicles entering New Zealand to confirm compliance with local standards

Warranty Claims Administrators/Fleet Maintenance Controllers
Median rate $68,000

The roles tend to have a wide variance of around $55,000 to $78,000, national distributors tend to pay towards the higher end. Aftermarket warranty companies usually target salaries either on or near the median rate. We note that employees may find the upper end of these wage rates difficult to secure.

When these roles emerge in lease companies, national distributors or mechanical insurance operations they usually are found in Auckland due to most of these companies being located in NZ's largest city. 

Candidates possessing heavy diesel skills and able to provide these services in the heavy diesel sector may be paid a higher amount. This is due to the higher rates that are generally paid to Diesel Mechanics.

Assistant Service Managers
National median income $80,000

This is usually a second in charge role to the service manager. Salaries range from $75,000 to $95,000. It is noted the larger the responsibility in terms of staff management responsibilities the larger the income. Employees working for small satellite sites for an example would tend to the lower end of the pay scale.

An assistant Service Manager operating in one of New Zealand’s larger dealerships may secure a salary towards the upper end of this scale and will attract a content of incentive income in addition. 

The Assistant Service Manager can earn as little as $75'000 and as much as $110'000.  The major difference will be location and the level of responsibilities.   

A company car is a norm for assistant service managers.

Service Managers
National median Income $110,000

Responsible for total control of the workshop operations and the service department profit centre, service managers can be paid as little as $85,000 P/A for small satellite sites to as much as $185,000 for flagship sites in the Auckland region.  At the lower end of the scale, e.g., $85,000, applicants would be employed at a site with five or 6 employees.

Upper-end service managers may have responsibilities for as many as 60 plus technical personnel. The larger dealerships tend to have a base salary coupled with performance-based bonuses paid on a percentage of the department’s profit to make up the total income. Full use of a company car is standard with such roles. 

Packages at the upper end in some cases include medical insurance and superannuation.