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Kiwi paychecks keep rising despite recession nipping at heel
Q1 job market update.14 April 2023
New Zealand’s job market started 2023 strong with record high salaries and a surprising number of job listings, according to the latest Trade Me Jobs data.
Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich said Aotearoa produced another record average salary in 2023’s first quarter ending 31 March coming in at $68,316, smashing 2022’s high of $67,562.
“With a recession on the horizon we would expect job listings to fall and salaries to stagnate as employers face an uncertain outlook. However, the first quarter bucked this trend with more money going into bank accounts on payday. And when comparing job listings to the same period in 2019, vacancies were down only 7 per cent, a much smaller drop than we would’ve expected.
“Overall, the jobs market is in pretty good shape considering the macroeconomic conditions at play,” Mr Tolich said.
Salaries shooting up across the board
“Not only are salaries across the motu continuing to break records, we’re seeing strong wage growth in the regions,” Mr Tolich said.
The largest average salary increases in Q1 were seen in the South Island with West Coast (up 11 per cent), Southland and Otago (up 8 per cent respectively), and Nelson/Tasman (up 7 per cent) all reaching new record average salaries.
“Wellington still holds the top spot for the highest paying region and the only one in the $70,000 bracket at $71,825. This is followed, surprisingly, by West Coast at $69,700. While the West Coast is one of our smallest markets, in Q1 we saw a number of highly-paid roles hit the market in the region which saw it overtake Auckland (at $69,546) by just $150.
“These rising salaries are in part a legacy of 2022’s skill shortage, where employers had to lift their game to attract quality workers, along with a reaction to the cost of living crisis, and the increase in the minimum wage.”
IT continues to command the highest salaries out of any sector. However, it has dropped to an average of $110,000 across the sector from last year’s height of $125,000.
“Demand is still high for skilled IT professionals, though it appears there are more people in Aotearoa looking for work with those skills. So, a typical case of supply and demand.”
Applications heating up HR inboxes
The number of people applying for vacant roles has dramatically increased with average applications per listing up 83 per cent year-on-year. “This means a greater spread of applicants for potential employers to choose from, ensuring they get the best talent for the role.”
Construction and roading saw an 166 per cent uplift in applications, while engineering saw an uptick of 135 per cent. IT had a 127 per cent rise in average applications per listing while trades and services rose 109 per cent when compared with the year prior.
The hospitality and tourism sector had an 83 per cent surge in applications and a four per cent increase in jobs as it gears back up after the borders have reopened. The sector is buoyed by a flush of demand for global travel and also the growing number of people on working visas entering the country to fill positions,” Mr Tolich said.
“There’s finally some relief for the businesses who have been crying out for staff. The tourism sector is set to grow even more this year, so we should continue to see a healthy number of opportunities in these areas.”
WFH on the up
There’s been a 269 per cent increase in the number of job listings with ‘work from home’ in the description since Q1 in 2019, before flexible working became part of our vocabulary. Furthermore, the average salary of those listings increased from $73,000 to $85,000.
“Working from home remains a key priority for job hunters and as a result we’ve seen more employers get on board and embrace flexible working,” Mr Tolich said.