Careers advice

How often should you get a pay rise in NZ?

Is there a standard time frame?

Last updated: 9 July 2023

What you’ll learn:

  • How often should you get a pay rise in NZ?
  • When is it common to get a payrise
  • How to ask for a payrise

With the cost of living so high, it’s no surprise that many of us are thinking of additional ways to both save money, and up the amount we have coming in.

But even in normal times, having your salary grow over time is, or at least should be, a normal part of working life. But how often should you get a pay rise in Aotearoa New Zealand? And what should you do if this isn’t happening?

How often should you get a pay rise?

If you’re earning minimum wage, you should expect a pay rise every time there’s an increase to this national standard. Generally speaking, the minimum wage in Aotearoa New Zealand increases every year.

However, if you’re earning above minimum wage, there’s no set legal timeframe in which you should expect to get a pay rise, it will depend entirely on the policies and processes in your organisation.

For example, it’s common for companies to conduct regular performance reviews, sometimes at intervals of six months or a year. As well as being an opportunity for your manager to check in on the projects you’ve been working on, these meetings are often designed to provide scope for pay to be discussed. Often, your chances of getting a pay rise during a performance review will be tied to whether you’ve achieved your KPIs (key performance indicators).

Common moments to get a pay rise

There are a few moments that may provide an opportunity for a raise, or at least for a pay rise negotiation, to come about. These include:

  • After a promotion: this one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but if you get a promotion, you should expect this to come with an increase to your salary.
  • Performance reviews: as we’ve mentioned, pay reviews can represent semi-regular opportunities for pay rises
  • Milestones: for example, you might expect a pay rise after a certain number of years with the company.
  • After exceptional performance: if you really nail a project, your manager might decide to reward this by giving you a pay rise as a way to incentivise you to stay with the organisation. Alternatively, they might give you a one-off bonus instead.

Performance reviews are often a good time to talk about pay.

When to ask for a pay rise

As you might have picked up by now, relying on getting a pay rise can take a while. So, you might find that you want to ask for one instead.

When it comes to timing a pay rise request, there are a few things to bear in mind:

1. How new you are to the role

If you’re new to a role, it’s a generally accepted rule that you shouldn’t ask for a pay rise within the first six months of being in the job. Even then, you’d want to have a pretty strong case for why you deserve a pay rise after such a short time at the organisation.

2. When you last asked for one

If you’ve previously had a pay rise request rejected, it’s not a good idea to ask for another one soon after. There will have been a reason why your previous request was denied (for example, because you need to build up a certain skill), and you’re more likely to damage your chances if you simply return a week later having not taken this advice on board.

3. The company’s financial situation

If the company isn’t doing brilliantly, it’s probably not a good idea to ask for a pay rise. This not only reduces your chances of being successful, but also shows a tone deafness that might hinder future attempts to get a raise. This is why it’s important to pay attention to company announcements or meetings, and to keep a finger on the pulse of your organisation.

4. Your manager’s schedule

Manager just back from a holiday, or straining to reach an important departmental deadline? This isn’t a good time to ask. Remember, negotiating a pay rise isn’t just a conversation between you and your manager. They’ll need to get sign off from their higher-ups and also from the HR team, so this process creates work for them.

How to ask for a pay rise

We’ve got a whole article dedicated to asking for a pay rise in Aotearoa New Zealand, so this is just a brief run down of the key points:

  • Make your case: provide details of the projects you’ve delivered, KPIs you’ve met and skills you’ve gained that are deserving of a pay rise.
  • Talk about the market: Trade Me Jobs’ salary guide provides up to date salary information for a wide range of roles and industry sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand. You can use this benchmark as a starting point for your negotiations, and also to do research on how much you should be paid.
  • Talk in ranges: when negotiating salary, it’s better to talk in a range rather than providing a single figure to demonstrate what you’d like to be paid.
  • Start higher than you’d be happy with: given that you’ll most likely to negotiate a pay rise, you should initially aim higher than you’d be happy to accept, as the company is likely to come back with a lower counter offer.


Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.