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Are you in line for a pay rise this year?


New Zealand’s unrelenting skill shortage shows no sign of abating, so after years of subdued salary growth will it underpin significant pay rises this year?

Our FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide is out now, and shows that sustained low unemployment combined with the intention of employers to further add to their headcount in the year ahead will lead to high candidate demand and short supply across the country.

Yet while employers tell us the talent gap will impact the effective operation of their business or department, it’s not leading to substantial salary increases. In fact, while more professionals across New Zealand will receive a pay rise this year, the value of those increases will fall.

Looking at the findings of this year’s Guide, 94% of employers intend to increase salaries in their next review, up from 92% who did so in their last review. Yet while 13% of employers increased salaries by 6% or more in their last review, just 6% plan to do so this year. Instead, 68% will increase salaries at the lower level of sub 3%, up from 60% who did so in their last review.

Employers are also becoming more strategic in their increases, offering the highest raises to those with skills in severe demand or who can prove they’ve added value above and beyond their job description.

To see if your skills are in line for a salary increase this year, take a look at our online Salary Checker.

Employees prioritise a pay rise – here’s how they’ll achieve it
For their part, New Zealanders seem resigned to minimal salary increases from their current employer. More than 60% of the professionals we also spoke to expect no pay rise or a raise of sub 3% this year.

However, crucially, these expectations have not dimmed their own view of their worth, with skilled professionals becoming more proactive in their attempt to increase their earnings. In fact, over half (53%) will ask for a raise while others are looking elsewhere – 40% of jobseekers say their uncompetitive salary provoked their job search.

So on one hand we have employers telling us they’ll add to their headcount and that despite skill shortages impacting the effective operation of their organisation, they’ll curtail salary increases.

On the other, the cumulative effect of several years of subdued wage growth has seen employees take the initiative to attempt to secure the salary they feel their skills are worth. They’re doing this by asking for a raise or looking elsewhere.

The resulting tug of war over salaries will lead to rising turnover. Already, almost one third (31%) of employers say turnover increased during the last 12 months, while 32% of professionals are either currently looking or planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

The Hays Salary Guide is based on a survey of close to 900 employers in New Zealand, representing over 259,000 employees. For the full findings, including typical salaries for thousands of roles across 16 sectors and industries, please download our Guide here.


Adam Shapley

Managing Director, Hays New Zealand and Hays IT Australia & New Zealand

Adam began working at Hays in 2001 and during this time has held significant leadership roles across the business including responsibility for multiple specialisms in various locations across Australia & New Zealand. In 2018, he was appointed to Hays ANZ Management Board and made Managing Director for Hays New Zealand. Adam is also responsible for the strategic direction of the Hays Information Technology business across Australia & New Zealand including driving growth across Digital Technology, Projects & Business Change and IT Operations & Support. .

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