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Average salary in Aotearoa hits $70,000 for the first time

Q2 2023 job market update.

12 July 2023

New Zealand’s national average salary has reached a new record of more than $70,000, according to the latest Trade Me Jobs data.

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich said this is the first time the average salary in Aotearoa has crossed the $70,000 mark, with the average salary sitting at $70,069 – a 6 per cent increase on last year.

“While the cost of living in Aotearoa continues to rise, it is promising to see that salaries are increasing too. We’re seeing record average wages across Hospitality & Tourism, Trades & Services, Retail and Customer Service.

“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,” Mr Tolich said.

“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,” he said.

Regions on the rise

While record average salaries are being seen in the big cities, the regions also continue to grow with new highs seen in the Bay of Plenty ($69,448), Gisborne ($68,496), Hawke’s Bay ($68,135) and Otago ($68,326). 

“In a talent-short market, employers are using competitive pay as a means to attract quality workers to their industries and the regions,” said Mr Tolich. 

“It’s not just the big cities – it is clear the regions are performing strongly with demand across a number of critical industries.”

Job listings dropping – expectedly

In the second quarter of 2023, job listings were down 15 per cent nationwide compared to the first quarter, with increases only in Gisborne (5 per cent) and West Coast (1 per cent).

Listings in Architecture and IT saw the greatest decrease in listings when compared with 2022. 

Mr Tolich said this downturn is 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. 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,” said Mr Tolich.

“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.”

Tradies and hospo workers jumping back in

Year-on-year job applications were up significantly amongst the Trades & Services industry, signalling a resurgence for industries previously hit hard throughout the pandemic.  

Other areas for strong application growth include Hospitality & Tourism, with a notable rise in applications for wait staff and chef roles within the sector. 

“It’s a great time for employers looking for new talent - there’s clearly a talent-rich market for these sectors. It’s promising to see a marked increase in applications for roles following a tough few years due to the pandemic,” Mr Tolich said.

Slowdown expected before job market rebounds

Mr Tolich says the job market will likely fluctuate over the next six months, but employers and job hunters alike 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.”

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