One in three employers expect to increase salaries by 3-6% in their next review while a third also expect to increase the number of permanent employees they have, according to the Hays Salary Guide.
The annual guide reveals 47% of employers believe the economy will strengthen in the coming six to 12 months, compared to just 5% last year.
"Quality candidates are finding themselves on steadier ground. Those who sat tight during the global financial crisis are now pursing career development," Hays New Zealand managing director Jason Walker said.
"Those who can add value are seeking salaries above their current level, as are those who accepted lower salaries during the downturn."
Workers in the mining and resources sector could be in for the greatest windfall, with 80% of employers in this sector expecting to increase salaries by 3-6%.
This is closely followed by professional services, where 47% of employers expected to increase salaries by 3-6%, then information technology and telecommunications where 42% expected to increase salaries by between 3-6%.
One third of employers expected to increase their permanent headcount, up from 21% last year.
A breakdown showed 50% of sales departments expected to increase their headcount, followed by engineering on 46%, operations on 41% and information technology on 35%.
Mr Walker said that for the most part New Zealand salaries remained constant during the past year.
Instead, many organisations made packages more attractive through non-monetary benefits such as flexible working hours and loyalty bonuses.
"There are clear indications that employers expect the market to improve further in the second half of 2010, which has also improved recruitment intentions," Mr Walker said.