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Pay rates of general staff rise

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

Pay rates of general staff rise faster than managers

Wages and salaries went up 3.5 per cent in the year ended July 2004, less than last year's 3.83 per cent but faster than inflation in both years, according to the National Employers Wage & Salary Survey.

The striking feature of this year's survey is the pay of ordinary employees pay went up faster than on average (3.5 per cent) than that for middle or senior management (3.1 and 3.2 per cent respectively).

The figures indicate the labour market is working well in these times of labour and skills shortages, said Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"The figures are telling us that laws such as the Employment Relations Amendment Act No.2 designed to give more negotiating power to employees are not really needed; staff already have it."

This is the 10th year of the survey, the country's longest established and most comprehensive. It is undertaken by EMA nationally on behalf of EMA Central based in Wellington, and the Canterbury and Otago-Southland employer organisations in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Participation in the survey for this year rose 14.2 per cent to 691 employers covering 107,000 employees in 211 positions across 19 job sectors. (The tables below list some pay details for 25 job positions, or about 10 per cent of the total available.)

The overall increase in wages and salaries of 3.5 per cent is above the official Labour Cost Index figure of 2.2 per cent because the National Employers Survey measures only full time positions and increases in pay, not decreases. (42 per cent of the Statistics NZ sample recorded a zero pay increase for the June quarter.)

Over 78 per cent of the sample's respondents gave their employees pay increases of three per cent or more.

Also measured is the average pay increase expected for the coming year to June 30th, 2005; the figure this time is down to 3.1 per cent.

The average pay increase last time for the present year was only slightly lower than the figure actually of 3.38 per cent compared to the 3.5 per cent that came in.

Last year the pay for senior managers was expected to go up 3.88 per cent but averaged just 3.2 per cent; for middle managers 3.41 per cent was expected, but averaged just 3.1%; for other employees, wages rises of 3.35 per cent were expected but they went up 3.5 per cent.

This reversed the trend of the previous year; an average of 3.38 per cent was expected but management paid out 3.86 per cent.

Winners, and bigger winners

The 2003-04 pay year was remarkable for registering faster pay rises for skilled and general employees than their managers.

On the other hand, pay for electricians went up 11.18 per cent to an average base of $48,694 (sample=156) whereas remuneration of an information systems manager rose just 1.1 per cent to $82,325 (sample= 83).

The average petrol mechanic was paid 3.78 per cent more on top of the 9.54 per cent increase reported in the previous year to reach a base of $36,076 (sample=235), and unskilled warehouse store persons saw a hefty 6.53 per cent increase to achieve base pay of $25,683 (sample = 453).

Some vocations such as toolmakers saw their national average correct a few points from their previous year's 20 per cent + increase.

However Mr Thompson points out that the wages data should be considered in terms of the trend over two to three year time periods to even out sampling changes. The three year rolling averages listed in the tables below assist with this.

The survey also gathers data on regional differences, and redundancy and overtime practices, along with the remuneration stats for upper, median and lower quartile bands for most jobs. The survey was undertaken in July this year.


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