Telemarketers promote and sell goods or services by telephone.
Telemarketers with up to two years' experience usually earn
$20-$25 per hour
Telemarketers with more than two years' experience usually earn
$25-$38 per hour
Source: Hays, 2017 and Trade Me, 2018.
Pay for telemarketers varies depending on experience.
- New telemarketers usually earn between minimum wage and $21 an hour.
- Telemarketers with up to two years' experience usually earn $21 to $25 an hour.
- Telemarketers with more than two years' experience, and those with managerial responsibilities can earn up to $38 an hour.
Some organisations pay commission only, and some pay a commission on top of salary.
Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Survey 2017', 2017; and Trade Me, 'Trade Me Salary Guide 2018', 2018.
- 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
Telemarketers may do some or all of the following:
- take or make calls to sell goods and services to customers
- explain the product or service they are promoting to customers
- persuade customers to upgrade their existing service
- raise funds for charity
- ask people to pay their bills
- keep and update records of sales and customers
- make appointments for sales representatives
- follow up on telephone messages left by customers
- gather information about customers and conduct polls or surveys.
Skills and knowledge
Telemarketers need to have:
- knowledge of the companies, products or services they call people about
- customer service and sales techniques
- the ability to explain technical details clearly
- the ability to solve problems and make decisions quickly
- a good telephone manner.
- usually work flexible hours, which may include weekends or evenings
- work in call centres and offices, and may work from home.
What's the job really like?
Great job for talkers
"I like talking to people, full stop,” laughs Thava Guy, a customer service representative for a telephone call centre.
"I work in inbound and outbound calling, which gives me a nice variety of work. I either answer incoming calls for one of our many clients or make outbound calls to members of the public to try and sell them a client’s product or service."
Challenging but rewarding work
"It can be a real challenge trying to sell a product and reach sales targets. It sometimes feels like I’m trying to sell myself. But it’s always rewarding when I know I’ve sold the product by the way a customer responds to me and my questions. And some of the people I talk to are lovely."
Systematic procedures help
Apart from the opportunity to talk to so many people on a daily basis, Thava finds the set procedures in her work very satisfying. "I’ve always liked procedures and a systematic working environment. We are given a lot of guidance and ongoing training to improve our work, and we are always setting targets and goals to keep us motivated and on the ball."
There are no specific requirements to become a telemarketer. However, you need to have a good standard of spoken and written English.
Telemarketers are trained on the job.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a telemarketer. However, NCEA Level 1 English is useful.
Telemarketers need to be:
- good listeners and communicators
- good at customer service
- tolerant, tactful, and patient
- confident and persuasive
- resilient and able to cope with rejection
- able to manage their time well.
Useful experience for telemarketers includes:
- sales experience
- customer service
- work that involves helping or motivating people.
Find out more about training
- Marketing Association of New Zealand
- (09) 361 7760 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.marketing.org.nz
- The Skills Organisation
- (0508)754 557 - www.skills.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Vacancies for telemarketers dropping
Vacancies for telemarketers have been falling since 2010. According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the number of telemarketer vacancies fell by 21% between 2017 and 2018.
This is due to increased use of:
- overseas call centres rather than local telemarketers, because of cheaper costs
- chatbots (software that can call or chat online with people) instead of people to make calls
- social media marketing, which is more appealing to customers than receiving calls.
According to the Census, 642 telemarketers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers varied
Telemarketers can work for:
- research firms
- charity organisations
- large private organisations
- government departments.
Some experienced telemarketers are self-employed and work on contract.
- Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand, 'Contact Centre Overview 2017', 2018, (www.ccinz.org.nz).
- Frazzetto, A, 'Bots and AI Continue their March Toward Call Centre Obliteration', 4 January 2018, (www.cio.com)
- Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide 2017', 2018, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Will Your Skills Be in Demand for 2018?', January 2018, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Iles, J, 'Tech Company to Open Branch in Auckland Adding Up to 140 Jobs', 18 May 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Johnson, D, 'Find Out if a Robot Will Take Your Job', 19 April 2017, (www.time.com).
- Lew, KP, 'Kiwi Startup Spotlight: Why This Will be the Year Chatbots Take on Customer Service', 2 February 2018, (www.bizedge.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Annual Percentage Change in Advertised Job Vacancies – March 2017 to March 2018 Quarters', April 2018, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook: Contact Centre Workers', 2017, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Mitchell, P, 'Fairfax Brings Manila Call Centre Back to Palmerston North', 19 June 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- NZ Herald, 'Orcon to Close Manila Call Centre, Re-establish in New Zealand,' 13 November 2017, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
- Shaw, R, 'Aussies Still Prefer People to Chatbots', 7 July 2017, (www.itwire.com).
- 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
Telemarketers may progress to become market research analysts or sales representatives, or move into management roles.
Telemarketers can specialise in the role of:
- Appointment Setter
- Appointment setters books appointments for leads (people who have shown interest in a company's goods and services) to meet with sales representatives.
Last updated 12 May 2021