2017 New Zealand
Salary & Employment Outlook

In-depth insights into employment conditions, skills in demand, sector trends and salary benchmarks for your industry

Overview and insights

Hiring trends

The most positive industry in New Zealand is construction, where all respondents expect their company’s headcount to increase this year. Interestingly, employers in consumer products and manufacturing largely indicated that they would not be increasing headcount in the next 12 months, with 56% and 78% respectively.

Contracting solutions

The most likely employers to use contracting are in consumer products (87%) and in technology (67%), whereas the least likely to use contracting are in logistics (62% said no), manufacturing (56% said no) and property (67% said no). A fairly small 18% of respondents who do not currently use contracting are will to consider contracting but positively, in manufacturing, 56% of respondents who do not currently use contract solutions for their business, are willing to consider it. Consumer products and construction are more likely to have a contracting workforce of 101 or more at 40% and 57% respectively and 56% of technology respondents have a contracting workforce of 11-50.

Salary trends

Salary and bonus predictions vary by industry, with the majority of logistics and distribution employers (56%) indicating that they don’t expect their company to pay out bonuses this year, but half of manufacturing employers predict a 6-10% bonus. Positively, only 7% of employers expect no salary increase.

Almost half expect that individual, team or company performance will be the biggest factor in deciding on salary increases and bonuses, with consumer products and manufacturing voting the highest at 82% and 60% respectively. 50% of technology professionals cited stagnant remuneration as the key reason employees leave their company.


The current market outlook is positive, with 50% of companies expecting to increase headcount in the next 12 months. Only 6% are expecting to decrease their current number of employees. We’ve seen strong demand this year in transactional, senior accounting and finance markets. In the transactional space, demand has increased for strong graduate candidates with drive, attitude and interpersonal skills.

Over half of the market uses contracting solutions, often backfilling until a permanent solution is found. Flexibility and short-term assistance are the main reasons for employing contractors. As with most industries, there has been a marked shift towards flexible working arrangements and corporate wellness programs in the finance industry. Corporate Social Responsibility is also high on the agenda.

In the mid to senior level space, and going into the last quarter of 2016 and into 2017, commercially savvy finance candidates with a blend of technical experience and business partnering skills will be highly sought after. This will be a definite requirement for candidates earning upwards of $70K. Particular roles in demand are Commercial Finance Analyst, Assistant Accountant and Financial Controller.

The majority of finance professionals expect a raise this year but nearly 40% expect not to receive a bonus. This was expected to be mainly dependent on competition, team and company performance, with only 6% foreseeing that global or domestic economic conditions would have any impact. In the wake of the Brexit vote, New Zealand is expected to remain stable.

Personal reasons (50% of respondents) are the biggest driver for finance professionals to move on, with limited career progression (43%) and seeking a new challenge (43%) also ranking highly.

Human Resources

A high demand for a flexible workforce has resulted in a need for strong talent in the contracting space – this has been at all levels but particularly in the change management and senior generalist space. Nearly 60% of companies are using contractors as part of their regular workforce. 83% of those believe that contracting helps source for candidates for perm positions and offers flexibility in the short-term to meet company needs. The permanent recruitment market continues steady growth as we are seeing an increased demand but shortage of talent within the intermediate; HR Advisor to HR Business Partner level.

Currently the most in demand roles are HR advisor, HR business partners and learning and development specialists.

NZ organisations continue to invest in the growth and development of their internal HR teams by adding layers of specialisation.

In the next 12 months it is expected there will be an increased demand for HR professionals with technical skills beyond the generalist space, specifically a need for them to have experience in remuneration and benefits as well as performance and rewards as teams become more efficient and businesses cost driven. Organisations will be looking for individuals that can partner, coach and add value to their stakeholders in a commercial capacity. True business partnering with the proven ability to understand the needs of their peers and management team. They will partner with the business to deliver HR solutions that maximise retention, succession planning, talent development and performance.

Marketing & Digital

There is always a consistent level of demand for high calibre marketing professionals and this year has been no different, with the majority of survey respondents saying overall hiring is steady.

There has been a particular demand for mid-management positions and an increase in movement in the senior market. Combined with a continued lack of investment in entry level marketing roles, this trend has put a further strain on the mid-management level in terms of demand and a lack of supply.

Marketers with a strong analytical skill set are currently hard to come by, as are good direct marketing candidates with loyalty and retention experience – but both these role types are becoming increasingly popular with employers who are shifting their focus to create a more insights driven strategy.

An interesting trend that has developed over the last 12 months is for candidates coming from a more technical background who have moved into a digital role to be more sought after for these positions over a marketing candidate who has moved into the digital space.

There is an ongoing demand for digital product managers but content, analytics and marketing automation are all areas of focus for digital teams so there has been an increased demand for professionals with these skill sets. Digital has become a function of its own within an organisation’s structure, as opposed to a subset of marketing, which it has traditionally been.

Strong FMCG brand and senior brand managers are in high demand currently, as most have moved in to new roles in the past two years. More analytical marketers such as insights and category manager roles are hard to come by but there is strong demand for these professionals. Strong marketing managers are always in demand, but it is often required that they have particular industry experience for the relevant sector. Individuals whose skills and experience match roles in demand should be able to command a higher salary or flexible benefits package, due to the limited supply of good candidates in these areas. Digital roles in highest demand currently are; digital product managers, UX design managers, digital performance managers/analyst, paid digital media and programmatic specialists and content managers.

Good marketers will continue to be in high demand. The mid-management level of $80-120k will have the highest level of turnover and be the most sought after. However, strong marketers with a great track record will be well positioned to pick up roles that are well aligned to their skill set. Given the lack of investment in junior candidates and strong analytical marketers over the last couple of years, the shortage of candidates is expected to rise, while the demand increases. The digital market will continue to thrive and the reality is that there aren’t enough skilled candidates to sustain the needs in the NZ market and offshore talent will always be looked upon highly.

App development will be a focus for all businesses and brands are starting to identify the value of marketing through videos online and look to invest in talent in this area, mainly from offshore. Innovative businesses are starting to look at in-house digital media specialists as the need to manage this closely increases, however there will always be a place for agencies.


Office Support

The current market is resilient, with hiring activity steady across all locations. In particular, we’re seeing increased demand for customer care or customer service professionals within the Office Support function as businesses focus on delivering high quality services to their stakeholders and customers.

60% of companies are using contracting solutions, with the majority of clients seeing contractors as a cost-effective and short-term solution to address resource shortages. In some cases, experienced contractors are also being hired to bring in external expertise.

Work/life balance and workplace flexibility are major trends in the Office Support sector, with over 70% allowed flexible working arrangements or part-time options, and 65% of staff having access to technology, allowing them to work from home.

Having an active and vibrant corporate social responsibility (36%) and wellness programs (27%) are also highly desired company benefits.

Roles currently in demand include Customer Care Consultants and Office Managers. Specific industry experience is also highly sought after.

Three quarters of Office Support staff expect a salary increase this year. Two thirds also expect a bonus this year. Of those who expect a bonus, the majority expect a 6-10 per cent payout based on good team and company performance.

The market will continue to move quickly with clients making decisions based on just one interview. The stronger the market, the more money they will invest in office support staff.

Limited career progression opportunities are the biggest driver for Office Support professionals to move on, with individuals often seeking a new challenge or wanting better compensation.

Procurement & Supply Chain

The supply chain sector has a strong demand for high calibre candidates, which is expected to continue, particularly in respect to skills, efficiency and best practice globally – this is currently topical due to many organisations’ close ties in doing business with, and outsourcing manufacturing out of, China. Many procurement functions are currently lacking the depth, skills and executive level support in industries across the board and is almost not represented at all in the SME market (it is typically a mixed function and largely transactional). It is not uncommon to meet top quality candidates who are of offshore origin - supporting the idea that NZ procurement still has a way to go to meet global standards and is lacking a pool of home grown talent.

The roles currently in highest demand are supply chain manager, demand manager, planning manager and procurement specialists. Anyone with overseas experience will be particularly well placed in their job search, especially in procurement.

Contracting is popular in the industry, with all procurement and supply chain respondents indicating that contracting solutions are currently in play in their organisations. The next 12 months will see stable growth in job flow and continuing high demand for skilled professionals.

Positively, all respondents expect a raise this year and only 25% expect not to receive a bonus. This was expected to be based solely on competition with other companies and individual, team or company performance. Domestic or global economic conditions were not considered significant.

In 2016/17 key reasons to attracting and retaining talent centre around career progression and company brand reputation which factored much lower in other industries. This gives employers the chance to develop a really strong employer brand proposition to ensure they are attracting top talent and not losing out to competitors.

Property & Construction

In the property sector there has been an increase of movement in the senior space, with a lot of newly created senior and executive level positions. These new positions are predominantly being created in the property and asset space – development projects from both local and international investors have drastically increased which is driving the demand. Similar to 12 months ago and expected to continue in the coming 12 months, in construction there is high demand across both residential and commercial property sectors.

Aside from the newly created senior and executive level positions, the mid-level roles currently in highest demand are:

  • Property managers
  • Centre managers
  • Facilities managers
  • Development managers
  • Carpenters
  • Site managers
  • Project managers
  • Quantity surveyors

All respondents expected their organisations to increase headcount in the next 12 months, with 75% expecting to need specialists and 25% mid-level employees.

Most property and construction professionals expect an increase in the next 12 months, with construction professionals expecting marginally more than their property counterparts. Increases and bonus expectations are based on team and company performance, competition and domestic economic conditions.

Movement in the property sector will continue to increase in the senior space, rolling on from the domino effect that started at the end of 2015. Retail property management is likely to be a huge focus, with most of the shopping centres nationally going through either a sale or development project.

In construction there will be high demand for staff, particularly with the planned construction of many 50+ storey buildings in Auckland. The residential market is not keeping up with delivery demand (particularly for apartments and residential dwellings) and as a result the high demand for staff will continue as new land developments and subdivisions become available.



There is a high amount of business growth which is generating more sales opportunities, but with the current talent shortage it can be difficult for employers to find suitable candidates. There has been an increased demand for business development managers or ‘hunters’ as the focus has shifted to new business acquisition instead of retention.

FMCG employers are struggling more and more to find up and coming talent in their sector, which has caused salary inflation in this space to attract talent from competing companies. Business confidence, on the whole, is on the up and employers are willing to invest in resources to win more business.

Within FMCG, because of the current competitive nature of the industry, there is a demand for a number of roles. In particular; grocery key account managers, up and coming territory managers and account executives.

The business and professional services industry, as well as more technical sales functions, is a slightly different story, with a focus on people with particular industry knowledge – especially if they fit the ‘hunter’ mentality and have existing large networks.

Scope for career progression and an increase in salary are cited as the most important factors for attracting and retaining talent.

Strong market activity is set to continue and the need for high calibre candidates who are harder to attract away from their current organisations will only increase. Employers will have to start to show more flexibility around industry experience hiring and look at alternate industries to find talent, particularly at a territory/account manager level. An increase in the need for out and out business development managers with a hunter mentality will continue for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.

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