Wellington had the highest average advertised salaries in New Zealand last year despite a drop in the rate, research shows.
Data supplied by job search company Seek found the average advertised salary in Wellington fell 0.2 per cent to $80,348 in 2015.
But the capital still managed to outstrip the salaries of Aucklanders where the average advertised rate was $75,856.
Auckland was the second highest paid region ahead of Taranaki where the average advertised salary fell 4 per cent to $72,475.
Andrew Whiteford, managing director at Wellington-based economic research firm Infometrics, said Wellington was at the top because many of its workers needed to be highly skilled either working directly for the Government or in supplying services to it.
Wellington also had a strong IT and telecommunications sector which attracted higher salaries.
"Unlike Auckland Wellington doesn't have much of a manufacturing sector which has lower wages.
"The average salary [for Wellington] reflects a more highly skilled workforce.
"Auckland is more typical of the whole of New Zealand," he said.
Despite the slight drop in average advertised salaries for Wellington Whiteford said the city was doing fine.
"The Government has a big impact and when they cut back it affects a lot of people.
"But that has worked through the system and the Government is growing again and spending."
Whiteford said Wellington's high average advertised salary made it attractive to live in especially when combined with the negative impact of the higher cost of housing in Auckland.
The region with the lowest advertised salaries was Marlborough although it saw a jump of 7.6 per cent in its average to $63,601 - the biggest percentage jump across the country.
Marlborough District Council spokeswoman Karen Fisher said Marlborough was a low-wage economy with many of its jobs traditionally linked to the wine and logging industries but that didn't stop people from moving there.
It's a big area for young retirees
"We are getting people from Auckland moving down here."
Marlborough was attractive for those who did not have to be based in a particular place for work, she said.
Fisher said she could not think of any single reason why the average advertised salary had gone up by so much.
Whiteford said the increase could have been driven by a change in the type of jobs being advertised with more employees wanted for highly skilled roles.
He said a small sample of data could also distort the figures.
Whiteford said the average income for Marlborough increased 2.7 per cent last year compared to 2.2 per cent for the country as a whole.
Hawkes Bay was the second lowest average advertised salary followed by the Manawatu.
The average advertised salary in the Hawkes Bay rose 1.8 per cent to $64, 130 while in Manawatu it rose 3.7 per cent to $65, 274.
Top three regions by average advertised salary in 2015:
• Wellington $80,348
• Auckland $75,856
• Taranaki $72,475