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Who earns what?

Find out which jobs and industries in New Zealand are paying the most money, and how qualifications relate to earnings.

What are the highest and lowest-paying jobs?

A man sitting at desk typing into a computer keyboard
Many of the highest-paying jobs are in information technology (IT)

Median income

The median income from wages and salaries across all jobs in June 2013 was about $44,000, according to a Statistics New Zealand income survey. This includes full and part-time jobs.

Highest-paying jobs

Jobs offering the highest salaries in 2013 were:

 Source: Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide.

Often, employers offer higher salaries for jobs because there is a shortage of experienced people to fill vacancies.

Other high-earning jobs that are not always advertised include chief executives of large companies or government departments, Members of Parliament, international aircraft pilots, and owners of successful businesses.

Lowest-paying jobs

Jobs offering the lowest salaries in 2013 were:

Source: Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide.

Some of these jobs offer lower pay because they are commonly not full time, or require minimal training.

An engineer standing outside in front of a wind turbine
Engineering jobs in the mining and energy industries attract some of the highest salaries

What are the highest and lowest-paying industries?

Some industries pay better than others overall. It can be because the work is dangerous, requires you to live in remote locations, generates large profits, or requires skills that are in high demand globally.

The highest-paying industries include:

  • Mining, resources and  energy
  • Engineering
  • Consulting and strategy
  • Information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Real estate and property.

Lowest-paying industries have many part-time workers

Many of the jobs in the lower-earning industries are part time, or low-skilled. For many workers, these jobs are their secondary employment. For example, some people might work part time in a bar or retail store in the evenings or weekends, in addition to their full-time job.

The lowest-paying industries include:

  • Administration and office support
  • Retail and consumer products
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Call centre and customer service
  • Arts and recreation.

Sources: Statistics New Zealand, ‘Employment, Earnings and Income’, 2012; and Seek, ‘Salary Snapshot’, May 2013.

The impact of qualifications on earnings

Your level of education has been proven to have a big effect on how much you can earn. Generally, the higher your qualification, the more you will earn.

Average yearly pay five years after qualification achieved (based on students who left study in 2007)

This graph shows the average annual income of graduates in 2009 by highest qualification, five years after obtaining the qualification. The general trend of the graph shows that the higher the qualification, the higher the average salary.

Source: Mahoney, P; Park, Z; Smyth, R, 'Moving on up - What Young People Earn After Their Tertiary Education, 2012', Ministry of Education, January 2013, (www.minedu.govt.nz)

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