Wage war: $2 between Wellington and Auckland cities

The average wage in Wellington City is neck-and-neck with Auckland City in the battle to be the highest earning area in the country, according to an analysis of over 72,000 vacancies listed on Trade Me Jobs.

Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade said the average salary in Wellington City was up a solid 7 per cent on last year to $71,558 - hot on the heels of Auckland City where wage growth was up just 0.2 per cent to $71,560.

“After dominating 2017, the capital has been chasing Auckland for the highest earning area this year and there’s now just a paltry $2 difference. With lower living costs and employers putting more money on the table, the grass could be greener for employees in the capital.” 

Mr Wade attributed a chunk of the solid job growth in Wellington to the relatively new Labour-led Government assuming power and with the public servant cap being lifted last month, this growth should continue in the third quarter.

Wages around the country

The national average wage remained relatively flat year-on-year, increasing just 0.7 per cent in the last year to $60,970, although some regions were doing particularly well.  

“The Wellington region was leading the pack with the highest increase in the average salary, up 7.1 per cent to $66,461, along with Gisborne which jumped up 6.5 per cent on last year to $59,017 and the West Coast which was up 4.8 per cent to reach $60,344,” Mr Wade said.

It’s a job hunter’s market

For those looking to change jobs in the next year, Mr Wade advised that making the move sooner rather than later was the way to go. “It’s a job hunter’s market with the average number of job applications down 6.3 per cent across the country.”

He said this was due to “reasonably prosperous” times and the country being near natural full employment. “With employer confidence at a five-year low and job growth flattening, the job market is evening out and it looks like a good time to dust off that CV if you want to make a move. If things continue this way, we could see a dip in job ads in the next quarter and a swing back towards employers with more applicants than roles in some sectors.”

IT is the highest-earning industry in New Zealand

“If you’re looking for a high-paying job, the IT sector still offers the highest average salary at $112,811 followed by roles in the property sector at $84,657 and the architecture sector at $83,218,” Mr Wade said.

IT roles filled all of the five highest paid positions in the second quarter of 2018 with IT architects earning the most at an average salary of $156,402.

Strong job growth in the south

Mr Wade said most of the South Island saw a boost in job listings year-on-year with the West Coast (up 19.8 per cent), Nelson (up 18.8 per cent) and Southland (up 18.4 per cent) the strongest performers. Job growth in these regions has been driven by roles in trades and services.

Auckland, Marlborough and Canterbury were the only regions in the country to experience a year-on-year dip in job listings, down 6.1 per cent, 4.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

Mr Wade said, the Auckland job market took a breath in the second quarter. “After such stellar growth in 2017 it’s no surprise things have eased a year later. Traditionally the regions immediately surrounding Auckland continue the trend a few months later so there are some concerns Auckland’s job market slowdown could ripple out into these ‘halo’ regions in the next quarter. However, if Government decisions around key infrastructure projects provide some market certainty, we should see it bounce back pretty quickly.”

Mr Wade said the national number of job listings were flat year-on-year, up just 0.1 per cent as the country comes off the leaps and bounds we saw last year. “The job market saw some incredible double-digit growth this time last year which is why we’re now seeing the dust settle. In the next six months we should see things start to look up for the market once again,” he added.

Uncertainty in construction continues

Mr Wade said uncertainty in the construction sector continued to take its toll on the industry with job listings down 13.8 per cent.

“With the proposed Otaki-Levin roading project on hold along with several other large construction ventures, employers in the construction industry are still in limbo. Until the Government ramps up infrastructure spending, employers in the industry are going to have to think twice about their next hire.”

Please see our Media Release for full tables and results.