Money Editor for NZ Herald

The big money earners: Jobs in construction, engineering and IT are tops for pay

Macartney said one mistake young people often made was to focus on getting a specific job when it was easier just to get into the right company. Photo / iStock
Macartney said one mistake young people often made was to focus on getting a specific job when it was easier just to get into the right company. Photo / iStock

People looking to maximise their earning prospects in 2016 should consider a career in construction, engineering or information technology.

Data released by job search company Seek shows outside of consultancy work roles linked to the building industry were paid the most last year and were some of the few sectors to see decent pay rises.

The average salary for the construction industry is now $94,580, a boost of 5 per cent on 2013 while engineers earned an average of $92,595.

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Construction, design and architecture and trades and services jobs were some of the few career paths to see an increase of 5 per cent or more in the last year while most other sectors only grew by 1 to 2 per cent and some went backwards.

Seek spokeswoman Sarah Macartney said the jump in pay for jobs linked to the building industry was simply down to supply and demand.

And so far that hadn't changed despite a slow-down in the Auckland property market.

"Whilst there are signs of it slowing down - there are no signs of it slowing in the job market yet."

David Kelly, chairman of the New Zealand Construction Industry Council said the industry was experiencing a boom time but for a lot of business there had been a lean patch before that when only 11,000 houses per year were being built instead of the typical 25,000 per year.

"A lot of this is catch up work. It is a boom and bust industry and that is the challenge for employers, particularly small and medium sized businesses that have been around for a while - they are a bit wary of taking people on."

It is a boom and bust industry and that is the challenge for employers, particularly small and medium sized businesses that have been around for a while - they are a bit wary of taking people on.

But Kelly said despite that there was a lot of confidence in the sector at the moment.

"There is a lot of demand for houses, especially in the upper North Island."

The commercial sector was also looking strong especially in Christchurch and there was some demand now emerging in Wellington.

"You add that all up and the next few years are looking good for a range of reasons."

Kelly said the average construction salary of $94,580 was about right for people that had between five to 10 years experience and were probably a site manager, quantity surveyor or project manager.

While some of those roles required a tertiary degree others were about gaining skills and experience on the job.

The biggest pay increase was seen in the farming, animals and conservation sector where the average salary jumped 14 per cent to $71,179, despite the slow down in dairy prices.

Macartney said the increase probably reflected a greater level of sophistication in farming roles.

People are prepared to pay more for the right workers.

But switching careers was not easy, Macartney warned.

"It's not easy for anyone, it's about setting yourself up for the best chance and being realistic about what you're capable of doing."

Macartney said one mistake young people often made was to focus on getting a specific job when it was easier just to get into the right company and then move within an employer once they had earned their stripes.

"Young people get a bit fixated on the right role."

Top ten biggest earning jobs - average salary - percentage increase in 2015

Consulting and strategy: $97,127 -2 per cent
Construction: $94,580 - 5 per cent
Engineering: $92,595 - 1 per cent
Information and Communication Technology: $91,223 - 1 per cent
Mining resources and energy: $89,593 - 5 per cent
Real Estate & Property: $83,966
Banking & Financial Services: $83,488
Human Resources & Recruitment: $81,147
Legal: $80,016
Government & Defence: $78,978

- NZ Herald

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