Bay of Plenty tradies are, on average, earning more than many others in New Zealand - so long as you're not female.

A OneStaff survey of more than 10,000 Kiwis in trades found Bay of Plenty workers earned $23 per hour on average. Tradies in Palmerston North, Whanganui and the West Coast were paid the national lowest at $21 an hour.

However, the biggest difference was between the genders. The survey revealed a gender pay-gap almost twice that of the overall workforce, with female tradies the furthest behind.

Female tradies were on average earning 20 per cent, or $5 an hour, less than the overall median rate of $25 per hour.


Kasey Birch was proudly hired by Plumbing Works in Tauranga as an apprentice but she believed the only justified pay gap would be between an apprentice and fully qualified tradesperson.

Birch said being a female plumber she had often shocked customers but she had definitely noticed changing attitudes to women in the trades.

"My boss is very encouraging with me doing the work. But I was drawn to this trade because my dad is a drainlayer and when I was little I would go to work with him every day and really enjoyed it.

"All of the sponsors and other tradies I have met, they are all lovely about it. It doesn't even bother them. They see me as just a plumber and not my gender."

Birch was the second female the company has hired although the survey found the "trades, services and engineering" sector was just 1 per cent female out of the 10,000 participants in the survey.

Rotorua resident Gina Reuben has been a roofer since she was 19 but was lost for words when she heard the pay gap.

"You are paid what you are capable of. I am good at what I do and I feel I'm paid for what I do," she said.

"If you're good and you are not getting paid your worth, then you really need to be going into the office to talk about it."


Reuben said aside from women in trades being great workers, she had seen more women become independent from companies.

OneStaff group general manager Jonathan Ives, who conducted the survey, said Tauranga had experienced continued growth over the past 18 months which brought the need for more housing, infrastructure and commercial sites.

"During the kiwifruit season, general labour options decrease dramatically and this year it has not bounced back as quickly as in previous years," Ives said.

"The challenge in this market is to encourage better pay rates to attract and retain quality candidates, on par with Auckland and Wellington. So much quality talent is lost due to lower wages and conditions."

In Northland and Auckland, workers were paid the highest at $25 an hour but Ives said Northland's cost of living was significantly lower than the metropolitan areas.