New Zealand’s national average salary reached $70,000 for the first time, according to the latest Trade Me Jobs data.
The average salary of $70,069 in the second quarter of 2023 was 6.1 per cent higher than the same period last year.
Record average wages were being seen across the hospitality and tourism sector, trades and services, and retail and customer service, Trade Me Jobs sales director Matt Tolich said.
“While the cost of living in Aotearoa continues to rise, it is promising to see that salaries are increasing too,” he said.
“This shows that employers are working hard to make sure salaries are competitive in order to attract employees in this high cost of living environment.
“It’s the workers that keep our country moving who are seeing record pay rates. It’s our nurses, chefs, builders and customer service staff, both in the major cities and the regions.”
Wellington had the largest average salary in the country in the second quarter at $73,663 - 5.9 per cent higher than Q2 in 2022.
This was followed by Auckland ($71,960), which was up 5.8 per cent, West Coast ($70,875), up 8.3 per cent, and Bay of Plenty ($69,448), up 6 per cent.
The Hawke’s Bay region was among the biggest movers, with the average salary increasing 7.9 per cent from $63,122 to $68,135.
Salary rises in Canterbury (up 6.9 per cent to $68,305) and Nelson/Tasman (up 6.8 per cent to $67,748) were keeping up with inflation.
Inflation currently sits at 6.7 per cent for the year to March 2023.
All regions experienced year-on-year salary growth. The lowest growth came in Manawatū/Whanganui at 4.3 per cent.
“In a talent-short market, employers are using competitive pay as a means to attract quality workers to their industries and the regions,” Tolich said.
“It’s not just the big cities - it is clear the regions are performing strongly, with demand across a number of critical industries.”
Meanwhile, job listings fell 15.2 per cent in the second quarter of the year when compared with the first quarter.
Tolich said the downturn in job listings was unsurprising given the current economic environment.
“Naturally we would expect to see fewer job listings with New Zealand now confirmed as being in a recession as many employers second guess that next hire,” he said.
“Couple that with the fact that we’re in an election year which typically means we see listings slow down as we approach a general election.
“However, unlike a normal recession we have seen business confidence increase, we haven’t seen the unemployment rate rise and still have a talent-short market. All of these factors are making things interesting for both employers and job hunters.”
Only two regions - Gisborne and West Coast - experienced an increase in job listings.
Quarter-on-quarter job listings in Auckland fell 12.8 per cent. Taranaki and Canterbury experienced the largest declines in job listings, down 21.5 per cent and 20.6 per cent respectively.
There were strong job applications in the trades and services industry as well as hospitality and tourism, which included a notable rise in applications for wait staff and chef roles, Trade Me said.
Data from Seek last month showed annual advertised salary growth rose to its highest recorded level, up 4.7 per cent in the year to May 2023.
But there are signs salaries are starting to cool as quarter-on-quarter advertised salaries grew at a slower rate of 1.0 per cent compared to previous quarters, according to Seek.
Stats NZ’s Labour Cost Index (LCI), which measures the change in wages for all jobs - including people currently in work, increased 4.3 per cent for the March 2023 quarter.
Trade Me’s Tolich said the job market will likely fluctuate over the next six months, but employers and job hunters should expect a healthy job market by early next year.
“Once employers know how the cards will fall following October’s election, things should pick up again in the job market as employers and applicants have greater certainty. As we head into summer, we’d expect job listings to bounce back,” Tolich said.
Cameron Smith is an Auckland-based journalist with the Herald business team. He joined the Herald in 2015 and has covered business and sport.