Great expectations: One in three Kiwi jobseekers’ salary expectations higher than market rates

Robert Half research has found one in three Kiwi jobseekers’ expectations for remuneration are higher than current market rates. Read more here.

  • 30% of New Zealand hiring managers say jobseekers’ expectations for remuneration are higher than local market rates.
  • 84% are willing to raise the initially-planned starting salary by an average of 10% to secure top talent when hiring. 
  • 42% say the most appropriate time for jobseekers to discuss salary is during the first interview.  

With New Zealand’s slow wage growth of 1.8% recorded in December 2017 [1], new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half has found jobseekers’ salary expectations are rising in New Zealand. According to the survey of 300 New Zealand hiring managers, with the research published in the newly-released 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide, one in three (30%) say job applicants’ expectations for remuneration are higher than current market rates. Two in three (65%) say they are in line, while only 5% say remuneration expectations are below average compensation rates.

However, in an encouraging sign for skilled jobseekers looking to negotiate higher starting salaries when interviewing for a new role, more than eight in 10 (84%) hiring managers say they are willing to raise the initially-planned starting salary by an average of 10% to secure top professionals when hiring for an open position. 

Megan Alexander, General Manager of Robert Half New Zealand said: “In a market characterised by rising cost of living and static wage growth, many professionals are eager to negotiate an above-average starting salary. And with employers willing to entice job applicants with a salary in line with or even above market rates, professionals would benefit from staying abreast of what the skills in demand are in their sector and keeping their competencies up to date, making them an in-demand candidate” 

When to discuss salary during the interview process
Job applicants and hiring managers alike both need to come to the salary negotiating table prepared. According to the research, more than four in 10 (42%) hiring managers say the most appropriate time for jobseekers to discuss salary is during the first interview, with just under one-quarter (24%) citing the second interview. Under one in five (19%) say salary should be discussed at the final interview or offer stage, one in 10 (11%) say when a candidate submits their CV, while only 5% say ‘never’ as salary discussions should always be initiated by the company. 

“Timing is essential for salary negotiations, though candidates need to realise that before starting a dialogue about salary expectations, they need to display suitability for the role and be sure the job is right for them. When the employer initiates salary discussions, to gain an advantage at the negotiating table, professionals should benchmark their current salary, experience and skill level by using industry tools, such as a salary guide, to determine their market value.”

“Jobseekers should always try to negotiate a competitive starting salary, and even if the offered salary doesn’t meet their expectations, it’s perfectly acceptable and common to request additional non-financial incentives such as additional leave and flexibility. Also, it’s important for jobseekers to look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer as their dream job could offer a generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company, which may compensate for a lower starting salary,” concluded Megan Alexander. 



About the Robert Half Salary Guide
The 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting and information technology.

It offers a comprehensive overview of the current salary ranges, industry trends and specific job trends for finance and accounting professionals and technology professionals. The results and insights of the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide are based on comprehensive analyses, local job placements, local expertise and independent research of executives and office workers. 

About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 300 hiring managers in New Zealand. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]