The highest paying jobs in New Zealand | Main Region | UB

The highest paying jobs in New Zealand 2023 - 2024

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Wondering which jobs pay the most? You might not be surprised to learn that the jobs with the highest salary in New Zealand are those in the medical industry, such as Surgeons and Anaesthetists.
However, as indicated by our Hays Salary Guide, plenty of jobs pay over $200K across a wide range of industries, and some may be more attainable than you might think. Here, we share our insights on the highest paying jobs in New Zealand and the factors driving these lucrative salaries.
Of course, your professional aspirations and career goals should not only focus on monetary compensation. With that said, knowing what jobs pay the most in each industry can help you plan your next career move and put you on the path to becoming one of New Zealand’s top earners.

The 18 highest paying jobs in New Zealand in 2023-2024

The Hays Salary Guide gives insight into recruitment trends and provides salary data for over a thousand jobs across New Zealand. With this data, we’ve created the following list revealing which jobs pay the most across 18 key industries.
Unless stated otherwise, all the salaries listed will be for professionals in Auckland. While Auckland typically dominates in average salary, in some industries, the highest paying roles can be found across Wellington and Christchurch. For example, as the nation’s capital, Wellington has higher earners in public sector policy & strategy.
For salaries in other locations or other roles in your field, please see our complete Hays Salary Guide.

Legal: Equity Partner ($350K)

Equity Partners are the highest earners in New Zealand’s legal industry. Equity partners in leading Auckland firms earn an average of $350K or more, while those working in Christchurch and Wellington report an average of $250K.
While Equity Partners command impressive salaries, the pathway to becoming one can take over a decade of hard work and commitment. Before pursuing this role, professionals should take the time to consider if they can manage the long hours of dedicated work in competitive work environments to reach the top.
If you’d rather pursue an in-house career, a General Counsel brings in $220K on average.
Other high earning legal roles in New Zealand include salaried partner ($190K) and Special Counsel (also $190K)

Executive: CEO and MD ($500K)

In companies bringing in between $50m-$500m, the typical income is for CEOs and Managing Directors $600K. Other senior executive leadership positions are also highly lucrative.
COOs and EGMs in organisations generating $50m-$500m have a typical salary of $325K. CFOs and FDs in the same firms earn $400K on average.
McKinsey & Company highlights that CEOs are top performers in a range of key areas, including organisational strategy, organisational alignment, external stakeholder relations and board engagement.
CEOs seeking new possibilities should show how they have improved service delivery in their company by introducing new technologies and methods. To attract new career prospects as well as top salaries, executives must demonstrate their capacity to encourage collaboration and build a team culture in remote work settings.

Policy & Strategy: Policy Manager (up to $170K)

As noted in our Salary Guide, in 2022, we’ve noticed a 36% increase in permanent employees for policy & strategy related roles, and that 47% of employers in this area are prepared to increase salaries by up to 3%. While the impact of the pandemic is still fresh, it has created opportunities for New Zealand’s policy and strategy professionals to pioneer new policies to cover things like hybrid working arrangements.
Right now, Wellington’s policy & strategy professionals are the highest earners, with Policy Managers at the top ($112K-$170K), followed by Strategic Managers ($120K-$170K) and Senior Economists ($102K-$143K).

Accountancy & Finance: Senior Commercial Manager/Director ($205K)

The top-paying jobs in New Zealand for accountancy & finance professionals belong to senior qualified accountants in firms generating more than $300 million. The highest earners are Senior Commercial Managers/Directors at $205K. This is followed by Group Financial Controllers ($200K) and Managers/Heads of Financial Planning/Analysis ($170K).
In treasury and compliance/risk roles, both Heads of Treasury and Heads of Risk earn the most at $173K. For positions in statutory & tax, Heads of Tax lead with a typical salary of $153K. The highest-earning payroll professionals are Payroll Supervisors/Managers, who earn $133K on average when managing over 3000 employees.
Employee benefits have been a focus for New Zealand’s accountancy & finance professionals during 2022. With the impact of COVID-19, more professionals are prioritising their work-life balance and expecting flexible hybrid working arrangements as a norm.

Property: Development Director (up to $408K)

Development Directors are the top earners in New Zealand’s property market, with a high salary range between $306-408K. Following them are Development Managers ($194K-265K) and Client-side Project Directors ($173K-214K).
Other high earners include professionals in Commercial / Industrial Sales & Leasing who bring in a typical salary of $153K. Asset Managers with 3+ years’ experience will earn $138K on average.
Property is one of New Zealand’s largest industries, accounting for roughly 15% of GDP. This sector is growing and presents a lot of opportunities for professionals with the talent and ambition to succeed.

Procurement: Commercial Manager ($140K)

Despite New Zealand’s adept handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, procurement, like many industries, was forced to adapt, with the biggest changes felt in the public sector. But with a renewed sense of optimism, a wide array of lucrative job opportunities have emerged for procurement professionals, with Commercial Managers having the highest typical salary at $140K.
Following Commercial Managers, Strategic Sourcing Managers earn $133K on average. The next highest earners are Procurement Managers ($128K) and Category Managers ($122K).

Construction: Construction Manager (up to $224K)

Since it’s tied to the property market, it’s no surprise that New Zealand’s construction sector is also a significant contributor to the nation’s economic growth. As a result, the local market for construction jobs is ripe with lucrative job offers, especially on the South Island, where there is a shortage of candidates to meet rising project volumes.
The highest paid job in New Zealand’s entire construction industry is Construction Manager ($153K-224K). Project Managers come in second with salaries of up to 204K. High-earners in civil construction include Senior Estimators at an average of $140K and Design Managers at $138K.
In residential construction, Senior Contracts Administrators / Quantity Surveyors take home $130K on average. Still, Construction Managers are the highest paid across all sectors.

Technology: CIO ($220K)

Highly skilled tech professionals in New Zealand have enjoyed increasingly competitive salaries over the last few years, underpinning the growing importance placed on technology across almost all industry verticals. The ongoing digital transformation of industries across New Zealand guarantees a range of competitive job prospects for those with the right skills and experience, with many roles having average salaries between $140-200K.
In New Zealand’s tech sector, the highest paying tech jobs are in leadership, with CIO ($220K) at the top, followed by CISO ($200K) and CTO (also $200K). This is followed by projects & change management experts, with Program Managers at $200K, Project Directors at $190K, PMO Managers at $180K, and Enterprise Architects (also at $180K).
Wellington has the highest paid roles in cloud computing and cyber security, with Cloud Architects and IDAM Architects both earning $180K on average.

Marketing & Digital: Executive Director of Communications ($220K)

Across New Zealand’s marketing & digital sector, the highest earners are in PR & Communications, with Executive Directors of Communications earning an average of $220K, followed by Directors of Communications at $200K.
Other lucrative roles include Marketing Directors ($186K), PR Directors ($153K), Senior Marketing Managers ($141K) and Digital Product Owners ($133K). eCommerce Managers are also being highly rewarded, with typical salaries of $128K.

Human Resources: Head of HR/HR Director ($250K)

Human resources professionals have become some of the most essential since the impact of COVID-19. With greater demands for flexible work arrangements and transparency between employers and their staff, skilled HR professionals can become truly indispensable members of their organisation, with competitive salaries to reflect this fact.
Heads of HR / HR Directors at companies with over 1000 employees have the highest paid HR jobs in New Zealand’s HR sector, with a typical salary of $250K. Those at organisations with between 250 to 1000 employees typically earn $194K.
The next highest earners are Heads of L&D / L&D Directors at $179K and Heads of / Directors Remuneration & Benefits (also $179K). HR Managers at firms with over 1000 employees earn $153K on average.

Architecture: BIM/CAD Manager ($130K)

The jobs market for professionals in architecture has improved significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19. Shortages in skilled candidates have helped to inflate architecture job salaries offered by employers working with a limited talent pool.
BIM/CAD Managers earn the highest salaries, collecting $130K a year on average. The next highest earners are Senior Architects with 10+ years’ experience, who typically earn $125K. Next, Project Architects with anywhere between 5-10 years’ experience and Senior Interior Designers (with over 7 years of experience) typically take home $110K.

Engineering: Civil & Structural Associate ($160K)

Engineering specialists in New Zealand are in high demand as the rate of project approvals increases. This puts experienced engineers in a great position to negotiate highly competitive salaries to ensure an excellent standard of living for many years to come.
Right now, New Zealand’s highest paying jobs in engineering go to Associates in civil & structural engineering ($160K). Next, contracted Operations Managers and Building Services Managers earn $150K on average. The next highest paid contractors are Senior Project Managers at $130K.
Senior Associates in design consultancy also have an impressive average salary of $140K. In civil & structural, Client-Side Representatives / Resident Engineers have a typical salary of $120K.
Facilities Management: General Manager (up to $235K) In the facilities management (FM) sector, General Managers are the top earners, averaging between $133-$235K. Next are Engineering Managers ($112-$134K), Bid Managers ($112-148K), and Operations Managers ($102-$133K).
While previously qualifications were not required for many FM jobs, this is beginning to change in New Zealand. For those interested in pursuing a career in this sector, investigating courses offered by reputable institutions or universities can be prudent to future-proof your employability.
Sales: Director of Sales (up to $250K) Sales professionals in New Zealand have the potential to earn very lucrative salaries. Still, an increasing expectation for new hires to hit the ground running means that those who wish to succeed need to nurture extensive networks throughout their careers.
The highest paid sales jobs in New Zealand include Directors of Sales ($145-250K), National Sales Managers ($134-$234) and Regional Managers ($115-169K). Other top earners include National Account Managers ($95-140K) and Business Managers ($93-$130K).
Insurance: Head of Claims ($170K) Life insurance is the most lucrative sector in New Zealand’s insurance industry, with average salaries for Heads of Claims and Chief Underwriters at $170K and $163K, respectively. Account directors at insurance brokerage firms bring in $150K on average, while Underwriting Managers in general insurance jobs typically take home $145K.
In 2022, we’ve noticed new compliance regulations prompt a shift toward KPI-based bonuses and salary-focused pay structures in the insurance sector. This may be welcome news to insurance specialists who may have previously struggled with a traditional commission-based structure.

Contact Centres: Director of Customer Service ($145K)

Currently, the job with the highest salary in New Zealand’s contact centres belongs to Directors of Customer Service, earning $145K on average. This is followed by Operations Managers ($115K), Contact Centre Managers ($105K), and Sales/Telesales Managers ($95K).

Logistics: Supply Chain Director ($160K)

The pandemic has caused significant changes in New Zealand’s logistics sector, with greater collaboration between firms, increased reliance on sea freight and the relocation of facilities to regional areas being key trends. In the coming years, we expect the biggest salary increases will occur in port cities like Hamilton and Tauranga.
New Zealand’s highest paying jobs in the logistics sector include Supply Chain Directors ($160K), Operations Managers in transport ($125K), Supply Chain Managers (also $125K) and Transport Managers ($110K).

Office Support: Executive Assistant ($85K)

After demonstrating their ability to excel in remote working environments during the pandemic, flexible work arrangements are now a standard expectation for New Zealand’s office support professionals. We’ve noticed employers embracing this and even offering four-day working weeks and health insurance as added benefits.
Executive Assistants’ (working for one person) are the highest earners, getting $85K on average. Next, Personal Assistants (assisting multiple executives) earn an average of $80K, followed by Office Managers ($75K).

Find more of New Zealand’s highest paying jobs

It’s clear that there’s no shortage of lucrative roles across a broad range of industries in New Zealand. No matter if you’re working in sales, marketing, logistics, or engineering, high-paying opportunities are waiting for you as long as you’re dedicated to developing the right skills and experience. Many Kiwis are enjoying a great work-life balance with rewarding roles in industries they’re passionate about - why shouldn’t you?
Download the Hays Salary Guide for more insights on salaries across New Zealand’s top industries. The guide is packed with findings that both job seekers and employers will find immensely useful.

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