Kiwis' salaries continue to rise despite recession fears - Trade Me

New Zealanders' paychecks are cracking new highs with nine regions soaring to record-breaking average salaries, according to new data.

It comes amid fears of a looming recession, with some economists warning New Zealand is already in it.

But despite these predictions, salaries are shooting up across the board. Trade Me's latest jobs data found the job market is in good shape, with a record average salary of $68,316 in 2023's first quarter ending in March, compared with 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," Trade Me jobs sales director Matt Tolich said in a statement.

"However, the first quarter bucked this trend with more money going into bank accounts on payday."

The largest salary increases in quarter one were seen in the South Island with West Coast (up 11 percent), Otago (up eight percent), Southland (up eight percent) and Nelson/Tasman (up seven percent) all reaching record average salaries.

However, despite the growth down south, Wellington still holds the top spot for the highest-paying region and is the only one in the $70,000 bracket at an average of $71,825. It is followed by the West Coast at $69,700 and Auckland at $69,546.

"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," Tolich said.

Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich.
Trade Me Jobs Sales Director Matt Tolich. Photo credit: Supplied

Trade Me's regional breakdown of average salary (* = record average salary)

  • Auckland $69,546 +1.1%

  • Bay Of Plenty $67,399 +4.6%

  • Canterbury $66,738* +5.4%

  • Gisborne $66,316 +3.8%

  • Hawkes Bay $66,335* +6.7%

  • Manawatu/Whanganui $65,108* +6.1%

  • Marlborough $65,032* +6.4%

  • Nelson/Tasman $65,890* +7.4%

  • Northland $66,890 +4.9%

  • Otago $67,938* +7.8%

  • Southland $66,762* +7.9%

  • Taranaki $66,829 +7.3 %

  • Waikato $67,648* +5.6%

  • Wellington $71,825 +1.5%

  • West Coast $69,700* +11.1%

Job applications soar

The number of people applying for vacant roles has also increased, with the average number of applications per listings up 83 percent year-on-year.

Construction and roading saw a 166 percent uplift in applications, while engineering saw an uptick of 135 percent. IT had a 127 percent increase and trades and services rose 109 percent when compared with the year prior.

The hospitality and tourism sector had an 83 percent surge in applications and a four percent increase in jobs as it gears back up after the borders reopened.

Working from home also remained a priority for job hunters, as a result, there was a 269 percent increase in the number of job listings with 'work from home' in the description since Q1 in 2019. Furthermore, the average salary of those listings increased from $73,000 to $85,000.

"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," Tolich said.