Services (featuring in-depth work on hospitality)

Hospitality, or manaakitanga, is at the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau, and brings people together across the region.

Sector definitions

The hospitality workforce covers cafes, restaurants, takeaway food, and bars. The 5 largest occupations in 2021 were chef, waiter, café or restaurant manager, kitchenhand and sales assistant. Together, these roles represent about 50% of the region’s total hospitality workforce. Tāmaki Makaurau’s hospitality workforce employs a high proportion of migrants: 37% in food and beverage services in 2021 (up from 33.8% in 2012).

In 2021, the sector included almost 31,000 businesses and employed over 64,000 people in Tāmaki Makaurau (almost 7% of regional jobs), contributing 3% of regional GDP. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand (RANZ) reported that in the second quarter of 2020, businesses lost $1.19 billion, compared to the same quarter a year ago. COVID-19's impact on the hospitality sector was immediate, severe and has been sustained.

Customers are slowly returning to offices and dining out, and demand for new and replacement workers is growing. In response to a February 2022 RANZ survey, Tāmaki Makaurau restaurant owners reported that they are now experiencing staff shortages that have the potential to lead to business closures. These shortages are most pronounced in the city centre because of COVID-19 restrictions. Smaller restaurant operators have reported working 80–100-hour weeks in order to survive.

Regional Skills Outlook(external link) — Infometrics

Staff shortages put hospitality under pressure(external link) —

Online snapshot poll: Valentines Day 2022(external link) — Restaurant Association of New Zealand (RANZ)

Monthly Hospitality Dashboard – February 2022(external link) — Restaurant Association of New Zealand

A young lady looking at camera talking about her hospitality career.

Photo: Restaurant Association NZ

“Hospitality offers really great opportunities and a great lifestyle. There’s lots of on the job training, it’s super social and because of the daily interactions with your customers, it’s really rewarding. I’m hoping that I can take over from my boss when she retires and one day open my own restaurant.”

Marie Clark – Operations Assistant and Senior Restaurant Runner Trainer from Soul

Ringa Hora

Services and retail, including the hospitality workforce, are represented by the Ringa Hora (Services) Workforce Development Council (WDC). The RSLG has been working with Ringa Hora to better coordinate workforce-related challenges for the hospitality sector in Tāmaki Makaurau. In 2021, Ringa Hora Workforce Development Council coverage was 362,631 filled jobs with a contribution of $43,650 million to GDP. Most industry workers are employed as sales assistants at 7.9% (Infometrics 2022).

Tertiary students, who have previously been an important workforce segment, are now less likely to search for hospitality jobs. The data shows a drop of about 52% in applicants in Tāmaki Makaurau (significantly higher than the national decrease of 24%). The sector offers many people their first job, and the opportunity to gain good foundation skills, and is becoming increasingly attractive to more mature workers. Tāmaki Makaurau’s hospitality jobs have been attractive to migrant workers from across the spectrum – from highly skilled chefs to young people on working holiday visas, and students seeking part time work. COVID-19 border closures have disproportionately impacted the hospitality sector, and travel behaviours and immigration policy settings may yet impact future worker availability.

The sector now faces the significant challenge of attracting and upskilling a post-COVID-19 workforce, with a higher proportion of local workers. Business owners who have been solely focussed on business survival are considering their workforce and training needs in this new context. Peak bodies, such as RANZ and Hospitality NZ, are providing support, ranging from building employer capability to dialogue with government on migrant worker needs. Programmes such as MBIE’s management capability support or mentoring are relevant, but hospitality expertise is important, given the COVID-19 impact, along with issues such the lack of skills development, working conditions and wage and pay equity.

Auckland CBD restaurants brace for mass closures due to Covid-19, staffing issues(external link) —

Auckland hospitality sector employment levels and forecast 2001-2027

Line graph showing actual and forecast employment levels in the Auckland hospitality sector from 2020 to 2027. The trend is upwards from just over 30,000 in 2021 to around 75,000 forecast in 2027.

Source: Infometrics

Hospitality sector labour market and workforce insights

  • The number of filled jobs in the hospitality sector in Tāmaki Makaurau was 63,576 in March 2021.
  • The sector accounts for 6.9% of overall filled jobs in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Historical and forecast trends for the hospitality sector in Tāmaki Makaurau are as follows:
    • Employment reduced by 3.3% in 2021 for the sector.
    • Employment growth averaged 3.4% per annum for the sector over the past 10 years, compared with the overall growth of 2.6% per annum for Tāmaki Makaurau.
    • Employment is forecast for the sector to grow by 2.7% per annum between 2021 and 2027.
    • Overall employment in Tāmaki Makaurau is forecast to grow by 1.8% per annum over the period.
  • Employment forecasts up to 2027: There will likely be 31,145 job openings in Tāmaki Makaurau, with people likely to be in new roles in the hospitality sector between now and 2027. This makes up 9% of total job openings in Tāmaki Makaurau forecast between now and 2027. They represent 11,123 new jobs and 20,022 net replacement jobs opening for the hospitality sector.
  • 15% of the region’s hospitality workforce are Māori compared with 11.5% of the population, while Pacific people represent 6.5% of the hospitality workforce compared to 15.5% of the population.
  • Those with no qualifications (including from elsewhere) represent 22%; Levels 1-3: 37%; Levels 4-6: 16.5%; Levels 7+: 16%; overseas secondary school qualification represents 8%.
  • Employment growth in the sector is driven by various factors, including the level of confidence businesses have in their activity outlook. For example, positive employment growth shows that businesses in a sector are confident enough in their activity and outlook to expand their workforce. With borders opening, relaxed vaccine mandate-related restrictions and Tāmaki Makaurau having passed the Omicron peak, the industry has renewed business confidence that forecasts an improved employment outlook. 

2018 Census(external link) —

A young man looking at camera talking about his hospitality career.

Photo: Restaurant Association NZ

“Its such a great job, its so sociable, I had no idea, its one of the reasons I really love working in hospo.”

Levi James – Kitchen hand, Vivace

Workforce planning challenges

From discussions and meetings with the Regional Skills Leadership Group and information shared by industry stakeholders including UNITE Survey, Stats NZ, Infometrics sector profiles– Auckland 2022, Service IQ reports and feedback, Restaurant Association of NZ.

  • The hospitality industry is characterised globally by relatively high business and workforce churn, which is a function of low operating margins, low barriers to new business entry, and often fast-changing consumer behaviour. Hospitality businesses in Tāmaki Makaurau (as elsewhere) struggle to respond to highly variable demand throughout the day, seasonality, and at the same time meet the needs of their workforce. High staff turnover is a barrier to training and upskilling.
  • The RSLG recognises and supports national leadership to increase the sustainability of the tourism and hospitality industry, which are objectives of the draft Tourism Industry Transformation Plan. Given the scale and importance of Tāmaki Makaurau region’s hospitality industry nationally, the RSLG supports its work being included in the Plan. The RSLG wants to champion better working conditions through programmes such as HospoCred (see details below), decent employment practices, and changing the image of the sector so that hospitality workers are valued, and hospitality is seen as a career rather than a temporary option. These aspirations are reflected in the regionally led actions.

Voices from the frontline [PDF, 16.95 MB](external link) — Auckland University of Technology

63,576 filled jobs in the hospitality industry

31,145 new jobs in the next 5 years

A young woman serving coffee to a customer with a smile.

Photo: Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei


The Restaurant Association’s HospoCred platform is for employers who have the credentials to be recognised for their incredible commitment to maintaining best practice, good business and for being an outstanding employer.

Through the HospoCred accreditation programme, businesses can apply to be recognised if they can declare and show evidence of their outstanding practices in employment, training, workforce development, business development and policy and financial management.

HospoCred accreditation focuses on recognising the best, helping to raise industry standards and creating a clearer picture for Government, for other businesses, for employees and consumers about what it means to be a good employer.

Regionally led analysis for workforce actions and opportunities

  • The RSLG has developed regional actions through consultation with a range of employers and industry stakeholders and drawing on industry employees’ surveys.
  • Ringa Hora (Services) Workforce Development Council has now been established and is building relationships to work with the sector to develop tailored vocational training, including working together with the RSLG.
  • The themes of raising the sector's attractiveness, ensuring sustainability, productivity, and resilience for the workforce address the issues raised through this engagement, and are the framework for collaborative action.

Hospitality sector actions

  • The RSLG supports the implementation of the industry-led Future of Hospitality Roadmap Goals with a focus on raising the attractiveness of the sector by providing better working conditions, ensuring decent employment practices, and changing the image of the sector to ensure good jobs through HospoCred.
  • The RSLG advocates a thriving hospitality sector that offers better working conditions, based on a strong employer duty of care for its service workforce.
  • The RSLG promotes a hospitality workforce that can share manaakitanga with manuhiri, or guests, while representing this home with heart, soul and mana.

Future of hospitality roadmap(external link) — Resaurant Association of New ZealandNZ

(external link)HospoCred – Employer accreditation(external link) — Restaurant Association of New Zealand