Careers advice

9 jobs teenagers can do with no experience

There are plenty of jobs for teenagers in NZ.

Last updated: 5 September 2023

What you’ll learn:

  • What is the minimum employment age in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • What is the minimum wage for teenagers?
  • What job options are there for teenagers in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Starting early can only be a good thing when it comes to the world of work. The sooner you start building up real job experience, the sooner you’ll start bringing in money of your own and the sooner you’ll begin building up experience that you can put onto your CV.

The very fact that you’re looking for a job as a teenager will impress employers, even much further down the track. It shows proactivity and drive, which are traits that employers in all sectors prize very highly. But what jobs can teenagers do in NZ? You’d be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a lot of options for those keen to get their first job in NZ.

What is the minimum employment age in Aotearoa New Zealand?

The good news is that there’s no minimum age to start working in this country, so it’s more than possible to get a job as a teenager in New Zealand. However, there are some limitations on exactly what, when and how you can work when you’re younger.

For example:

  • If you’re under 20, you can’t work in any jobs relating to gambling.
  • If you’re under 18, you can’t work in restricted areas of a licensed premise like bars, clubs and licensed restaurants.
  • If you’re under 16, you usually can’t work during school hours or between 10pm and 6am.
  • If you’re under 15, you can’t operate heavy machinery, drive a vehicle, lift heavy loads or do work that’s likely to cause you harm.

What’s the minimum wage for teenagers in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Like many countries, we have laws that dictate the minimum wage that employers have to pay their staff for their labour.

However, these laws don’t apply to anyone under the age of 16, which means that, if you’re under 16, an employer can pretty much pay you what they want (with a few exceptions). However, as soon as you turn 16, your boss must pay you the appropriate minimum wage.

Importantly, even if you’re younger than 16, apart from pay, you’re still entitled to all the other minimum standards and employment rights of other New Zealanders.

Jobs in retail come with the chance to learn heaps of skills.

Teen jobs in NZ

1. Local retail shops

Whether you live in a large city or a small town, chances are there are opportunities to work in retail as a teen. In bigger centres, this might be in chains like Hallensteins or Farmers, whereas in small towns it could be your local dairy or supermarket. One of the benefits of this type of work when you’re a teenager is that you can often take it on for a relatively limited time. For example, you might just be able to do this work on a weekend or in the holidays, so you can work it around school or other commitments.

2. Hospitality

Hospitality is another job that teenagers can easily get into. Many hospo venues are happy to take on younger employers with little or no experience, as you’ll get plenty of on the job training. Hospitality jobs are great for teenagers because you’ll gain heaps of transferable skills like customer service, communication and teamwork. They’re also typically fast-paced and fun places to work with lots of young people where you can build real friendships with your colleagues.

3. Babysitting

An easy way to earn a little cash as a teenager is by babysitting in the local area. This job is a serious responsibility, so you’ll need to be confident that you’re comfortable being accountable for looking after someone else’s kids. However, it can be a reliable source of income, particularly if you do a good job and word gets around parents in the local area that you should be their go-to person.

4. Gardening

Looking for a job that will get you outside while earning money? Working as a gardener in your neighbourhood could be the perfect answer. Older neighbours, in particular, may want someone to come and keep their garden neat and tidy, and be prepared to pay for your time. If you really enjoy this work, as many do, this could lead to a future career, as owning and operating your own gardening business can be a lucrative and rewarding profession that many Kiwi follow. After all, who wouldn’t want to work outside and be in charge of their own schedule?

5. Lifeguarding

While you don’t need any experience to start working as a lifeguard in NZ, you will need to go through extensive training, due to the potentially life saving nature of working in this profession. However, it’s well worth the effort to get this training under your belt. Working as a lifeguard is not only a rewarding and interesting job, it’s one that looks good on your CV for the very same reason that the training is necessary – the serious responsibility that comes with this work.

Working as a lifeguard looks great on your CV due to the amount of responsibility you have.

6. Customer service

Another job open to teenagers in NZ is working in customer service. Call centres, for example, may hire staff with no previous experience because there are typically scripts you can follow in order to get the required message across to customers. As well as communication skills, working in customer service will allow you to develop problem solving and adaptability skills, as well as an understanding of the importance of consistent messaging within businesses.

7. Paper round

While it might seem very old-fashioned, newspaper deliveries still exist in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2023. If you’re looking for a job you can do on the weekend while getting out and about under your own steam, then a paper round should be pretty perfect.

8. Dog walking

Another teenage job you could do that also gets you outside, and this time with a furry companion, is dog walking. People with lots of commitments might not be able to walk their dog(s) every day of the week, and so many will pay others to walk them.. If you do this enough, it can be a good way to earn a little money while having fun and taking responsibility for someone’s four-legged friend.

9. Sports coaching

If you’ve got a passion for sports and a desire to teach the next generation to love it too, you could consider coaching sports. We’d be willing to bet that there are plenty of sports teams in your local community that you could apply to work for. Again, this is another job that would look great on your CV, not only because of the skills you’ll learn, but also the community spirit you’d show by doing it.

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.