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Salary Survey: Jobs strong - salaries moderate

Wednesday 31 May 2006

Salary survey released: Job growth strong - salaries stay moderate

The 2006 Hays Salary Survey, detailing typical salaries for a range of sectors across New Zealand, will be released tomorrow.

The survey, which covers 13 employment sectors and hundreds of job roles in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, reports moderate salary increases. On average, the survey reveals 58 per cent of employers increased salaries by 3-6 per cent and 25 per cent increased by less than 3 per cent. Some 13 per cent of employers raised salaries by 6-10 per cent and 4 per cent lifted salaries by more than 10 per cent.

“The last 12 months was characterised by one of the most sustained periods of low unemployment and jobs growth in modern times, the well publicised joining of Generation Y candidates to the workforce and the fierce global resources boom,” said Jason Walker, Regional Director of Hays New Zealand. “So it is no surprise it was a year with an unprecedented focus on the candidate.

“The most graphic illustration of this is the salary increases in human resources. The focus on recruitment and retention for many organisations has driven demand for human resources specialists, who received the biggest overall salary increase of all roles surveyed. The typical salaries for human resources specialists in Auckland rose 18.3 per cent. Specific focus has been on individuals with a background in recruitment and talent management, as well as in learning and development – with training emerging as a key differentiator for employers wanting to attract and retain good candidates.

“While the focus is on the candidate, nobody is guaranteed an instant job offer with a large increase in salary – in fact the impact on salaries in most locations and disciplines is still notably restrained. A candidate in demand still needs to be the right candidate with the right skills or potential, having done their research and wanting the job, performing well at interview and assessment,” said Jason.

Notable industry trends:

- Higher increases from resources & mining employers: Compared to last year’s Salary Survey, the number of higher-end salary increases more than doubled. Last year, 16 per cent increased salaries by more than 6 per cent; this year 36 per cent increased salaries above 6 per cent.

- Higher salary increases from IT/telecommunications employers: Last year 50 per cent offered increases under 3 per cent. This year 19 per cent offered increases at this lower level and instead 53 per cent offered increases between 3-6 per cent (versus 42 per cent last year), while 28 per cent offered increases over 6 per cent (compared to 8 per cent last year).

- Higher salary increases from manufacturing employers: 22 per cent this year offered increases between 6 and 10 per cent (compared to 2 per cent last year).

- Smaller salary increases from hospitality, travel and entertainment employers. 46 per cent increased salaries between 3-6 per cent, down from 66 per cent last year. Instead, more employers are offering increases below 3 per cent (36 per cent versus 29 per cent last year).

- Salaries in advertising, media, construction, property, engineering, financial services, professional services, public sector, retail, transport and distribution industries remained relatively stable.

Sector trends:
Accountancy & Finance:

- Severe demand for audit, risk management, IT/systems skills, assistant accountants, payroll and credit controllers. Professional practice demand for business managers and newly qualified up to five years experience level.

- Largest geographical salary increases in WA.

- Internal audit and risk management command top salary packages. Major banks and wealth management firms offer the most competitive salaries.

Construction & Property:

- While the principal construction & property vocations were in demand, civil engineers, planners and project managers were in particular demand.

- Considering the skills shortage and international demand for our talent, salary increases were paradoxically subdued. A focus on retention and career management also kept salary movements low.

- Market flexibility is a critical feature; those employers that emphasised cultural fit and offered training in required skill sets found recruitment far easier.

Banking, Finance, Insurance:

- Demand for business bankers and commercial mobile lending. Retail banking was strong and there was a revival in investment banking.

- Wealth management buoyant; demand for qualified financial planners, para-planners and advisers.

- Significant salary increases for relationship managers, business development, sales, financial planners, advisers and para-planners.

- Pronounced salary increases for middle and senior level insurance skills. Shortage of underwriters increased salaries, peaking at up to 10 per cent.

Human Resources:

- Upswing in demand for human resources specialists and HR’s standing within the business.

- In-house recruitment consultants and managers received one of the biggest salary increases of all skills surveyed – 26 and 20 per cent respectively.

- Salary increases for learning & development consultants/officers and managers also high; 21 and 15 per cent on average respectively.

Information Technology:

- Project managers, business analysts, solid ERP functional candidates and ITIL knowledge in demand.

- Salaries increased steadily, but not to the extent of 1999 – 2001.

- In general, high achievers were awarded through bonuses and performance related pay rather than salary increases.

Contact Centres:

- WA and SA experienced largest base salary increases.

- Increases also evident through broader salary ranges for senior and specialist positions.


- Tighter candidate market - continuing movement of lawyers overseas and general high demand.

- Salary increases reserved. The traditional belief that Sydney and Melbourne offer higher salaries is being eroded, particularly in Perth.

Office Support:

- Demand high for senior administration, legal secretary, experienced reception and multi-skilled candidates.

- Emphasis on cultural fit over technical ability. Focus on traditional values of confidentiality, commitment and a view to longevity.

- Strong salary increases in financial services.

- Suburban salaries increased to attract and retain talent.

Resources & Mining:

- Activity in the local minerals and energy sectors shows little sign of abating.

- Biggest salary increases in the design, engineering and construction sectors.

- Despite the ongoing boom, salaries in operational mining stabilised with the focus instead on increased benefits and lifestyle choices.

- Rather than compete on salary, many companies are introducing strategies to cope with a shortage of skills.

Sales & Marketing:

- Strongest salary movements at the entry and executive level.

- At the mid-level, account, communications and public relations manager salaries all remained steady. Marketing manager salaries were the only exception.

- Geographically, Auckland followed by Sydney then Brisbane were the salary winners.

To view the Hays Salary Survey, visit or request a copy from your local Hays office.

The Hays Salary Survey is based on a survey of more than 1,700 respondents from SME to large multinational organisations across Australia and New Zealand and on Hays’ specialist placements made over the last 12 months.


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