Careers advice

What are the highest paying jobs in NZ?

Where is the money in New Zealand in 2023?

Last updated: 17 April 2023

What you’ll learn:

  • What is the current state of New Zealand’s job market?
  • What are the highest paying jobs in NZ?
  • Which regions have the best paying jobs in NZ?
  • How to find out how your salary compares to the average for your sector

You might be surprised to learn, with all the talk of a looming recession, that Kiwi salaries continued to rise in the first quarter of 2023. In fact, the average salary in NZ has set another record – now sitting at $68,316. What’s more, while job vacancies are down, as would be expected in the current economic climate, this drop has been much smaller than otherwise predicted.

So, what does this mean for job hunters? Well, the high number of roles available on Trade Me Jobs, combined with consistently high salaries means it’s still a great time to be looking for a job in Aotearoa New Zealand.

If you’re after a serious payrise, you might be asking yourself, what are the highest paying jobs in NZ? Well, ask no more.

The highest paying jobs in NZ

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that IT jobs continue to be among the most well paid in the country. In fact, three of the top five highest salaries go to IT roles:

The top five highest paid jobs in New Zealand
IndustryRoleAverage pay
ITITProject ManagementProject Management$142,983$142,983
Executive & General ManagementExecutive & General ManagementExecutive & General ManagementExecutive & General Management$128,994$128,994
Construction and RoadingConstruction and RoadingQuantity SurveyingQuantity Surveying$128,350$128,350
ITIT Business & Systems Analysts Business & Systems Analysts$123,116$123,116

On average, IT management jobs are currently the best paid in NZ at $154, 564, followed by IT project managers at $142, 983. However many other IT jobs are also really well paid, including business and systems analysts ($123,116), programming and development ($115,974), testing ($111,389) and systems engineers ($98,138).

Construction and roading roles are also among the best paying jobs in Aotearoa New Zealand currently. Of these positions, quantity surveying receives the highest salary ($128,994) followed by projects and contracts management ($122, 320), site management ($110,409) and estimation ($108,788).

Other professions included in the current list of high paid jobs are finance managers and controllers ($115,720), architects ($97,000) and communications and PR professionals ($96,731).

The reason for the country’s consistently high salaries? Trade Me Jobs’ Sales Director Matt Tolich puts it down to the legacy of the skills shortages we saw across the country in 2022. During this period, employers were doing everything they could to attract the reduced pool of top talent, including making some pretty substantial increases to standard salaries. While the number of applicants per listing has increased substantially from last year, up 83%, some of these trends towards higher salaries have remained in the market.

Keen to see how your salary stacks up?
Check out our free Salary Guide, featuring up-to-date salary data across a wide range of industries.
Compare your salary

Which regions have the best paying jobs?

Unsurprisingly, Wellington is still New Zealand’s best paying region, with an average salary of $71,825. However, the region that comes in second for this metric isn’t what you’d expect – the West Coast. This region has seen an 11% increase in average salaries during the first quarter of the year, thanks in large part to the arrival of a number of highly-paid roles. Remarkably the West Coast has now beaten Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland which is in third place (by just $150).

Top three regions:

  1. 1. Wellington: $71,825
  2. 2. West Coast: $69,700
  3. 3. Auckland: $69,546

Overall, Te Waipounamu/South Island saw the largest increases in average salaries in Q1. As well as the 11% increase on the West Coast, Southland and Otago both saw 8% increases, and Nelson/Tasman saw a 7% increase.

Working from home salaries

The work from home trend also shows no signs of abating, with increases to work from home salaries demonstrating employers’ continued acceptance of this new way of working. Since the first quarter of 2019, there’s been a 269% increase in job listings on Trade Me Jobs that feature ‘work from home’ in their description. In addition, the average salary for these jobs has gone from $73,000 to $85,000.

The top 15 highest paying jobs in New Zealand
IndustryRoleAverage pay
ITITProject ManagementProject Management$142,983$142,983
Executive & General ManagementExecutive & General ManagementExecutive & General ManagementExecutive & General Management$128,994$128,994
Construction and roading Construction and roading Quantity SurveyingQuantity Surveying$128,350$128,350
ITITBusiness & Systems AnalystsBusiness & Systems Analysts$123,116$123,116
Construction & RoadingConstruction & RoadingProjects and Contracts ManagementProjects and Contracts Management$122, 320$122, 320
EngineeringEngineeringProject ManagementProject Management$121,728$121,728
ITITProgramming and DevelopmentProgramming and Development$115,974$115,974
AccountingAccountingFinance Managers & ControllersFinance Managers & Controllers$115,720$115,720
ITITTestingTesting$111, 389$111, 389
Construction & RoadingConstruction & RoadingSite ManagementSite Management$110,409$110,409
Construction & RoadingConstruction & RoadingEstimationEstimation$108,788$108,788
ITITSystems EngineersSystems Engineers$98,138$98,138
Marketing, Media & CommunicationsMarketing, Media & CommunicationsCommunications & PRCommunications & PR$96,731$96,731

How does my salary compare?

All this talk of salary increases and high-paying jobs may have got you wondering how your own pay compares.

Luckily, you don’t need to wonder, as our free salary guide will allow you to compare your salary against the average for the role across Aotearoa New Zealand at a glance. We update this guide regularly, meaning you can keep your finger on wage trends around the country.

Not only is this information useful in decisions like when to change jobs, it can also help you make a case for a pay rise, if this is something you’re thinking about doing. For example, when you’re having payrise discussions with your manager, you need to be able to present some good reasons why you think it’s deserved. A really strong way to do this is to collect some data that demonstrates how your current remuneration rate compares to wider salary trends in your industry, and base your requested increase on this. This is a much stronger argument than simply plucking a number out of thin air with nothing to back it up.


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.