Receptionists greet visitors and clients, and deal with enquiries and requests. Their work includes administration tasks such as answering the telephone, scheduling appointments and keeping records.
Receptionists usually earn
$47K-$55K per year
Source: Hays, 2018.
Pay for receptionists varies depending on experience and the type of duties.
- New receptionists usually earn between minimum wage and a little more.
- Receptionists with additional responsibilities can earn up to $55,000.
Source: Hays, 'FY 18/19 Hays Salary Guide', 2018.
- FY 18/19 Hays Salary Guide
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Receptionists may do some or all of the following:
- greet visitors, clients or patients and notify staff of their arrival
- answer telephone calls and other enquiries
- make bookings or appointments for clients or patients
- administrative tasks such as managing documents, filing, or organising catering
- receive and sort mail, and arrange courier and mail pick-ups
- maintain financial accounts
- collect money from clients or patients.
Medical/dental receptionists and admissions officers may also maintain patient records, and maintain and check hospital waiting lists.
Skills and knowledge
Receptionists need to have:
- computer and word processing skills
- planning and organisational skills
- office work skills, including telephone and document management
- 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.
- usually work regular office hours but may also work evenings or weekends
- work at front desks or reception areas of businesses and organisations.
What's the job really like?
The face of the hotel
"Because you are the face of the hotel, you are the first point of contact. You are the person that has to listen because you are that front face and you have to try to figure out a solution if an issue occurs."
Hotel expects high standards
"At the end of your shift you put your uniform in the wash. When you come back for your shift the next day that uniform is hanging there, everything all together with your name on it. Hotels have a standard similar to flight attendants – you have look a certain part and represent your hotel."
Competition takes receptionist to Paris
"One of the highlights of my job was doing the 2017 AICR receptionist of the year competition in Paris. There are a lot of competitions around like that and excelling at those sorts of things builds your confidence. I have done cocktail classes, barista classes, fire safety and first aid courses, and got my liquor licence, things like that. It's not just something that's helping me in my role as a receptionist, but it's helping me in my daily life as well."
There are no specific requirements to become a receptionist as skills are usually gained on the job. However, a New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) (Level 3 or 4) may be useful.
No specific secondary education is required for this job, but business studies, maths and English to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.
Receptionists need to be:
- calm, pleasant and efficient
- good at communicating and listening
good at planning, organising and problem solving
- able to multitask and work well under pressure
- be accurate and have attention to detail
- able to keep information confidential
- able to work independently.
You have to be calm and deal with situations that arise every day, from small things to big.
Useful experience for receptionists includes previous customer service work such as in a store or cafe.
Find out more about training
- Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand
- email@example.com - www.aapnz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Vacancies common but competition strong
Competition for receptionist jobs is high, but vacancies are common because:
- the industry is large, employing about 24,000 people
- turnover is high, as the pay is low and workers progress to higher-paying positions.
The number of receptionists in New Zealand is projected to increase to 26,000 by 2021.
According to the Census, 22,920 receptionists worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Administration and customer service skills in demand
Your chances of securing a job as a receptionist are best if you have both administration skills and experience dealing with customers or clients.
Types of employers varied
Receptionists work for many types of organisations in the private and public sector, including:
- hotels and motels
- dental, health, medical or physiotherapist clinics
- public and private hospitals
- various businesses
- government departments.
- Hays, 'FY 18/19 Hays Salary Guide', 2018, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Jobs in Demand - Office Support', July - December 2018, 2018, (www.hays.net.nz).
- McKessar, A, president, Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand, careers.govt.nz interview, September 2018.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Receptionists', accessed October 2018, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Receptionists may move into other roles in the organisation or hospital where they work, such as:
- administration officer
- clinical coder
- personal assistant/executive assistant
- medical records officer
- medical typist.
- Administration officer job information
- Clinical coder job information
- Medical typist job information
- Personal assistant/executive assistant job information
Receptionists may specialise in particular roles, 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.
- Dental/Medical Receptionist
- Dental and medical receptionists work in doctors' or dental surgeries, hospitals, or private clinics.
Last updated 22 September 2023