Biggest hourly wage rise on record, but gender pay gap continues to widen

Hourly earnings over the past year have seen the largest annual jump since records began, StatsNZ says, but increases for men continue to outpace those for women.

The latest figures released on Wednesday show median hourly earnings from wages and salaries rose 6.8 percent - up $1.90 to $29.66 per hour - in the year to the June 2022 quarter. That's the largest annual percentage change since records began in 1998.

However, the gender pay gap has slightly increased from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

That's off the back of median hourly earnings for women jumping 6.2 percent to $28, compared to earnings for men rising 6.4 percent to $30.85.

Women have seen a larger jump in median weekly earnings - up 9.9 percent or $95 to $1055 - as more women join the full-time workforce and fewer are in part-time employment. That's also the highest annual percentage increase on record. Median weekly earnings for men were up $73 or 5.9 percent to $1320.

In the year to the June 2022 quarter, the number of full-time wage and salary earners jumped 102,300, or 5.9 percent, to 1,848,600, while the number of part-time earners fell 38,200, or 7.9 percent, to 442,300. 

The jump in full-time earners can be broken down as 58,900 women and 43,300 men. The decrease in part-time workers is primarily due to women leaving.

"Weekly earnings come from two factors – how much someone is earning per hour, and how many hours they work," said StatsNZ labour market manager Malak Shafik.

"Over the year, hourly earnings for men and women rose similarly, but there was a bigger shift in the proportion of women working full-time that meant their weekly earnings rose more sharply."

StatsNZ revealed earlier in August that annual wage inflation had jumped 3.4 percent over the past year, compared a 7.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

It was also reported on Wednesday that while unemployment continues to be at near-record lows - at just 3.3 percent - disabled people are still experiencing unemployment at higher rates.

The unemployment rate for disabled people aged 15 and over was 6.8 percent, compared to 3.1 percent for non-disabled people.