Employees would move for better pay, economists say they may have to wait

Cameron Bagrie
Bill Rosenberg

Better pay would lure six out of 10 employees to leave their current job, says a survey by recruitment company Hudson but economists remain sceptical that conditions are favourable for pay increases.

Hudson surveyed 5,003 employers and 5,701 employees in Australia and New Zealand. Of employees surveyed across New Zealand and Australia 58.2 percent say higher remuneration would see them leave their current workplace, while 71 percent of employers said they intended to increase wages in line with the consumer price index.

A more mobile labour market, with jobseekers confident they can be employed, puts pressure on employers for wage increases, says the Hudson report. However, despite employers reporting skill shortages, New Zealand unemployment remains at a pre-recession high of 6.2 percent.

"There is still high unemployment by historical standards," Council of Trade Union economist Bill Rosenberg told BusinessDesk. "So there's a lot more work to be done."

Labour scarcity should prompt employers to increase wages to attract and keep staff, but this was yet to be truly seen outside of Christchurch where construction worker shortages were leading a rise in pay, Rosenberg said.

"It's not enough to say you've matched cost of living, it is time for real wage growth now," Rosenberg said.

Last week's Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index showed jobseekers had growing optimism when it came to finding a job, reaching the second highest level in the past two years. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion said that employers were finding labour increasingly hard to find, particularly skilled workers.

The Hudson report says these key economic indicators should force employers to raise remuneration.

"The labour market is starting to have movement but it's still a long way from being red hot," said ANZ New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie. "It's a bit of horse before the cart in terms of wage rises, you've got to get the productivity to match before the wage gains."

While there is a risk of workers migrating in search of better pay packets, increasingly the New Zealand economy held more promise, Bagrie said.

"People want to come here," he said. "The economic story here is more robust than anywhere, than in Australia, and we are seeing a turnaround from the exodus we saw."

Skill shortages were becoming a problem, particularly in construction, and that increased the pressure for wage growth, Bagrie said.


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Economists should consider getting real jobs, cause from where I'm sitting, they rarely get anything right and nothing but spin doctors for the people they work for; getting way too much media attention.

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Agreed their comments seem to have the status of holy writ... workers should definitely follow their advice and be hanging out for the fruits of increased productivity, especially when the top 1% have captured 93% of the gains in the past:


I'm sure they will trickle it down to the rest of us when they are finished with it...

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“1% have captured 93% of the gains in the past:”

The top 10% have paid something like 45% of the total tax take. How is that “Fair?” They still only get one vote – yet just 2 beneficiaries their taxes support can “out vote” their supporter and benefactor – effectively biting the hand that feeds them. That’s not “equality”

Besides – “equality” is a socialist ideology construct used as a platform so the political Left can get all sanctimonious and even display some faux moral outrage at the perceived slight that has never existed in the first place. But the political Left couldn’t really call it “more successful than someone else” as that implies an element of personal responsibility would be required and has been missing. Much better to call it “inequality” then anyone and everyone who feels disenfranchised for what ever reason, can then claim to be a “victim” and victims do deserve special treatment – especially when someone else has so much more than the “victim”

Remember, none of us are born “Equal” we are all completely unique – just like everyone else. The child born who can never walk might dream of being a marathon runner, the woman with short curly hair longs for long, straight hair, the over-weight nerd to be a sports jock – and the list goes on and on.

We all have equal time – 24 hours in a day. Ask the next Left politician whinging about “inequality” when was the last time their “inequality victim” spent serious time in a free public library up-skilling themselves to increase their own employment proposition?

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We have ridden this 'recession' out and our productivity has increased it's time now to be rewarded. Come on, times up!! 1% increase in my salary in the last 4 years. No where near to keeping up with inflation.

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If employers want to keep Green-Labour out of power (and it's in their business interests that they do) then they should give their staff a pay increase immediately.

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