A survey of 4000 New Zealanders reveals people outside the four main centres are not necessarily paid any less.

Jobs with higher median salaries in the regions include accounting, healthcare and medical, aviation, primary industry, human relations and recruitment. Workers in HR and recruitment jobs earn 21.5 per cent more in the regions than in the main centres, while those in primary industries take home 14 per cent more on average.

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Andrew Harris, director of recruitment firm Blackcat, said he and his family left Auckland in December 2017 for a life in Hawke's Bay.

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He said his income is "better already" with more prospects for his company in a less crowded market.

"Rent for our office space is half the price we paid in Auckland."

Senior associate at Copeland Ashcroft Law, Myriam Mitchell, also left Auckland for the region in October last year after being approached for the opening of the new Hawke's Bay office.

Mitchell says her salary is slightly lower since moving. However her partner, Brett Mitchell, is now earning more in Hawke's Bay than he was in Auckland as an automotive technician.

Hawke's Bay Chambers of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford says this was clearly a response to the supply and demand of skills in the regions. "There is a quiet flow of people moving into Hawke's Bay across a wide range of industries."

Mitchell said she enjoyed the lifestyle including the shorter commute that gave her more hours with spend with her toddler, as well as being part of a smaller community and a more cohesive neighbourhood.

New Zealand Chambers of Commerce Northland chief executive Tony Collins said there was often a perception, particularly in Northland, that people made professional compromises to live in the regions.

Walford said for many years they had talked about how regional employment paid less than the main centres.

"We have had to continually justify the difference and balanced [it] with the lifestyle."

Auckland continued to have a stronghold on higher median salaries in science, legal, media and advertising, and transport, shipping and logistics.

Executives are much better off in Auckland. The median salary for them is $152,583, almost twice as much as the regions at $76,870.

Collins said there has been strong population growth in Northland.

Some of the reason may be a better living environment, the cost of living and lack of some of the negative impacts of growth in the metropolitan centres including environment, housing and congestion, he said.

Salary data is taken from an online survey done by independent global research company Kantar TNS for YUDU.

YUDU is owned by NZME, publisher of the New Zealand Herald.​