SEEK Employment Trends: quarterly salary update across industries – who’s paying what?

When economic activity is on the rise, salaries tend to follow suit. However, despite further year-on-year growth in new job ads across New Zealand, the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows that salaries remain largely unchanged.

August 2016 delivered positive results for the New Zealand employment market with SEEK job ads increasing by 9.9% year-on-year. While the average advertised salary trend improved in Canterbury, Auckland and Wellington remained unchanged. Experts say an upward shift is overdue.

“New Zealand has been going through an improving economic cycle for a good period of time,” says Ben Pearson, General Manager – Wellington at Beyond Recruitment. “However, salaries across the board haven’t really changed a lot and this is converse to the supply-and-demand situation. Salaries for hard-to-find skills should be through the roof but they’ve been kept in check for a number of years.”

Megan Alexander, General Manager of recruitment firm Robert Half in New Zealand, says counter offers are becoming more common as employers seek to retain their best talent. “I just had a financial controller candidate receive an 11% counter offer from their employer when they told them they were leaving for a new job,” she says. “I think we’re on the brink of salaries beginning to increase.”


Salary growth in some industries

Although average advertised salaries appear generally static, SEEK data shows that some industries experienced an upward trend over the past four months.

In a positive sign for the mining, resources and energy industry, the average advertised salary in August 2016 increased by 11% year-on-year to $100,862. “Salaries may be seeing an increase as a means of attracting people back to the industry,” explains Jason Walker, Managing Director for New Zealand at recruitment firm Hays.

New Zealand’s healthcare and medical industry also saw an increase in average advertised salaries, which were up by 5% to $76,344 in August 2016. The average advertised salary for government and defence roles also grew by 6% to $80,569, while the hospitality and tourism sector also saw an increase of 3% and the average advertised salary was $52,572 in August 2016.

The construction industry experienced a 2% year-on-year increase in average advertised salaries, rising to $96,240. Walker notes that despite New Zealand’s burgeoning construction sector, salaries have experienced only minor movements. “Pricing for tenders happens well in advance and they include labour costs,” he explains. “For projects that are being tendered now, I think we’ll notice an increase in labour costs and this will be reflected in salaries.”



A slip in salary for some sectors

Sectors that experienced a year-on-year decline in average advertised salaries in August 2016 include consulting and strategy, which slipped by 4% to $93,345. Education and training declined by 2% year-on-year to $69,283, while the engineering sector recorded a 3% decline, with average advertised salaries slipping to $89,959.

The call centre and customer service sector also experienced a year-on-year decline in average advertised salaries. They were down by 6% to $46,796. Walker is surprised by this result. “We’re seeing demand for call centre roles increasing and salaries have also been moving up,” he notes.

Alexander says now is the time for employers to review their salary packages. “Many companies are short in salaries for lower level roles and it’s happening right up the food chain,” she says. “We have a skills shortage across many sectors and this is coupled with a range of newly created positions, so this is creating challenges.”

Walker believes salaries will need to shift in order for companies to remain competitive. However, he predicts that it will be 12 months before there is a noticeable growth. “As competition for talent becomes tougher, employers will need to lift their offer to attract the very best,” he says.



Average advertised annual salary package for full-time roles across industries




















































































































































































Industry classification August 2015 August 2016 YOY % change
Accounting $75,821 $75,874 0%
Administration and office support $49,576 $50,899 3%
Advertising, arts and media $66,135 $68,631 4%
Banking and financial services $83,123 $86,432 4%
Call centre and customer service $49,815 $46,796 -6%
Community services and development $60,512 $63,421 5%
Construction $94,101 $96,240 2%
Consulting and strategy $97,022 $93,345 -4%
Design and architecture $76,269 $78,111 2%
Education and training $70,560 $69,283 -2%
Engineering $92,456 $89,959 -3%
Farming, animals and conservation $75,232 $63,169 -16%
Government and defence $75,663 $80,569 6%
Healthcare and medical $72,475 $76,344 5%
Hospitality and tourism $50,821 $52,572 3%
Human resources and recruitment $79,740 $81,828 3%
Information and communication technology $90,301 $92,893 3%
Insurance and superannuation $74,000 $72,640 -2%
Legal $77,642 $76,639 -1%
Manufacturing, transport and logistics $65,747 $67,115 2%
Marketing and communications $76,816 $77,436 1%
Mining, resources and energy $90,833 $100,862 11%
Real estate and property $81,980 $84,749 3%
Retail and consumer products $50,392 $53,267 6%
Sales $73,602 $73,693 0%
Science and technology $78,148 $73,053 -7%
Sport and recreation $63,720 $60,729 -5%
Trades and services $58,895 $58,375 -1%




















































































































































































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