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Roading Construction Worker

Kaimahi Hanga Rori

Alternative titles for this job

Roading construction workers make surfaces such as roads, airport runways and driveways, and control traffic around road construction sites.


Roading construction workers usually earn

$23-$24 per hour

Roading leading hands and forepeople can earn up to

$85,000 a year.

Source: research, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a roading construction worker are good due a shortage of workers.


Pay for roading construction workers varies depending on their experience, responsibility, and the location and type of work.

  • Roading construction workers usually earn between minimum wage and a little more.
  • Roading leading hands and forepeople can earn up to $85,000 a year.
  • Specialist machine operators and roading team leaders may earn more than this.

Sources: research, 2018; and FY 18/19 Hays Salary Guide, 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Roading construction workers may do some or all of the following:

  • dig up road surfaces and prepare them for resealing
  • general labouring and carpentry
  • operate heavy machinery such as graders and rollers
  • pour and smooth concrete and asphalt
  • maintain machinery and equipment
  • control traffic moving around their construction site.

Skills and knowledge

Roading construction workers may need to have knowledge of:

  • driving vehicles
  • operating heavy equipment and machinery
  • materials they use, such as asphalt, road metals, and drainage pipes
  • road construction and roadmarking methods
  • how to read plans.

Roading construction workers usually learn skills on the job.

Working conditions

Roading construction workers:

  • usually work irregular hours, and may work early mornings, weekends, night shift work and be on call
  • generally work longer hours in spring and summer when more roading construction work happens
  • work outdoors on roads, airport runways and driveways
  • work in most weather conditions and in places that may be noisy, wet, cold, dirty and dusty.

Entry requirements

To become a roading construction worker you need:

  • a minimum of a restricted car driver's licence, but employers usually prefer a full licence
  • to pass pre-employment medical and drug tests, and a police check.

Heavy vehicle licences (Classes 2, 3, 4 and 5), and R, T or W (rollers, tracks or wheels) endorsements are an advantage.

Roading construction workers gain skills on the job. Most start as labourers and move into more specialised roles as they gain skills and qualifications.

Secondary education

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include English, maths, science, construction and mechanical technologies and physical education.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Personal requirements

Roading construction workers need to be:

  • able to follow instructions
  • patient and careful
  • responsible and motivated
  • alert and safety-conscious
  • able to work independently and in teams.

Useful experience

Useful experience for roading construction workers includes:

  • building and construction work
  • labouring
  • driving heavy vehicles 
  • using machinery.

Physical requirements

Roading construction workers need to have excellent fitness and health and must be strong, as the work can be physically demanding.

Find out more about training

0800 486 626 or 0800 437 486 - -
NZ Institute of Highway Technology (NZIHT)
(06) 759 7065 - -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances of getting a job as a roading construction worker are good due to:

  • national and local government plans to spend over $5 billion on transport each year until 2028, with a focus on building and maintaining safer roads, walkways and cycleways.  
  • roading construction workers being upskilled and moving into other roles within a company
  • high staff turnover – as roading construction workers are in demand, they can easily change employer for better conditions.

Road Roller Operator, Paving Plant Operator and Road Traffic Controller will appear on Immigration New Zealand's Green List or Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement from March 2024.

This means the Government is actively encouraging these skilled workers from overseas to work in New Zealand

According to the Census, 1,821 roading construction workers worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Spring the best time to look for roading construction work

Job opportunities for roading construction workers are best in spring and early summer, when most roading work is done.

Temp agencies useful for finding your first role

Roading construction companies often prefer to employ roading construction workers on a temporary basis to start with. Although these are usually short-term contract positions, they're likely to lead to more permanent work if you're suited to the role.

Most roading construction workers work for private companies

Most roading construction workers are employed by construction or roading companies. About 30 large companies do 90% of the roading work in New Zealand. 


  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Changes to Immigration Settings Announced, '23 September 2023 (
  • Ministry of Transport, 'Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018/19 – 2027/28', June 2018, (
  • New Zealand Transport Agency, 'Transmission Gully', accessed July 2018, (
  • 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

Roading construction workers may progress to become earthmoving machinery operators or drainlayers after further training. They may also move into team leader or management roles.

A man wearing a hard hat stands between a trench and a large digger

Roading construction workers assist with constructing and maintaining roads

Last updated 8 December 2023