New Zealand's average salary cracks $70,000 reaching record high - Trade Me

The average national salary was $70,069.
The average national salary was $70,069. Photo credit: Getty Images

New data has found New Zealand's average salary has reached a new high, with every region seeing an increase.

According to Trade Me, this is the first time the average salary in Aotearoa has crossed the $70,000 mark.

Data from Trade Me Jobs released on Wednesday found the average national salary for quarter 2 (April to June) was $70,069 - a 6 percent increase on last year.

Trade Me Jobs sales director Matt Tolich said with the cost of living continuing to rise it is promising to see salaries increasing too. 

Wages across New Zealand have been steadily climbing. The country's unemployment level remains low at 3.4 percent, as per the latest indicator released back in March. High demand for workers often results in higher wages as companies fight to attract and retain staff in a tight labour market. 

"This shows that employers are working hard to make sure salaries are competitive in order to attract employees in this high-cost-of-living environment," Tolich said.

"It's the workers that keep our country moving who are seeing record pay rates. It's our nurses, chefs, builders and customer service staff, both in the major cities and the regions."

Record average wages were seen across the hospitality and tourism, trades and services, retail and customer service sectors - signalling a resurgence for industries previously hit hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, since the last Stats NZ unemployment rate indicator, New Zealand has entered a technical recession. Generally, recessions tend to bring high unemployment rates and the Treasury has forecasted 150,000 people could lose their jobs in the next year. 

Regions on the rise

Every single region saw a rise in average salaries when compared with the same quarter last year.

Auckland saw a 5.8 percent increase from $68,036 in 2022 to $71,960 in 2023, Wellington rose 5.9 percent from $69,545 to $73,663 and Canterbury was up a huge 6.9 percent from $63,906 to $68,305.

While record average salaries are being seen in the big cities, other regions continued to grow with new highs seen in the Bay of Plenty ($69,448), Gisborne ($68,496), Hawke's Bay ($68,135) and Otago ($68,326).

"In a talent-short market, employers are using competitive pay as a means to attract quality workers to their industries and the regions," Tolich said.

"It's not just the big cities - it is clear the regions are performing strongly with demand across a number of critical industries."

  • Auckland $71,960 (up 5.8 percent) 
  • Bay Of Plenty $69,448 (up 6 percent)
  • Canterbury $68,305 (up 6.9 percent)
  • Gisborne $68,496 (up 5.9 percent) 
  • Hawke’s Bay $68,135 (up 7.9 percent) 
  • Manawatū/Whanganui $65,711 (up 4.3 percent)
  • Marlborough $66,794 (up 5.4 percent)
  • Nelson/Tasman $67,748 (up 6.8 percent) 
  • Northland $67,771 (up 5.9 percent)
  • Otago $68,326 (up 6.5 percent)
  • Southland $68,416 (up 7.1 percent)
  • Taranaki $67,075 (up 5.6 percent)
  • Waikato $68,867 (up 6.6 percent)
  • Wellington $73,663 (up 5.9 percent)
  • West Coast $70,875 (up 8.3 percent)
  • Nationwide $70,069 (up 6.1 percent)

Drop in job listings

In the second quarter of 2023, job listings were down 15 percent nationwide in comparison with the first quarter of this year Trade Me found.

The only regions to see an increase were Gisborne (up 5 percent) and West Coast (up 1 percent).

Gisborne has understandably seen an increased demand for workers following low activity in the region's job market in February due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

The data found architecture and IT jobs saw the greatest decrease in listings when compared with 2022.

Tolich said this downturn is unsurprising given the current economic environment.

"Naturally we would expect to see fewer job listings with New Zealand now confirmed as being in a recession as many employers second guess that next hire. Couple that with the fact that we're in an election year which typically means we see listings slow down as we approach a general election," Tolich said.

"However, unlike a normal recession we have seen business confidence increase, we haven't seen the unemployment rate rise and still have a talent-short market. All of these factors are making things interesting for both employers and job hunters."

Tolich said the job market will likely fluctuate over the next six months, but employers and job hunters alike should expect a healthy job market by early next year.

"Once employers know how the cards will fall following October's election, things should pick up again in the job market as employers and applicants have greater certainty. As we head into summer, we'd expect job listings to bounce back."