Pay data shows signs of improvement

Economists may be predicting ongoing challenges in a low growth economy, but not all indicators are negative. Our latest survey data shows clear signs that pay rates are lifting – albeit more slowly than employees may wish.

Base Salary Movement:Mar16 Fig 1

Average increases in Base Salary of 3.6 percent were recorded for both Top Executive roles and General Staff roles for the 12 months to March 2016.

Both groups are well ahead of the recorded Wage Inflation figure of 1.6 percent for the same period.

Note that these figures are based on movement for individual staff; they do not reflect movement in the underlying value of the roles in these groups.

Median Total Remuneration Movement:

Mar16 Fig 2The movement in Median Total Remuneration takes into account adjustments from all sources: Base Salary Movement (as above), changes as a result of staff turnover (replacement staff are frequently paid at a lower rate than the people they replace), negotiated adjustments to pay structures and changes in the value of Benefits provided (including Bonus and other incentive payments).

Historically Median Top Executive Total Remuneration has moved at a greater rate than inflation nationally; in contrast the Median rate for General Staff has struggled to keep pace, and has at times been negative (see 2015). In the latter context the 1.5 percent movement for 2016 is at least a step in the right direction.

Changes in Benefits Practices:

Mar16 Fig 3Remuneration management is not just focussed on Base Salary and Total Remuneration however: when finances are pressed, policies on the provision of benefits are also scrutinised.

While the provision of Bonuses has dropped since the Global Financial Crisis, and is not showing any signs of immediate recovery, provision of KiwiSaver has continued to grow – partially offset by decreases in the use of traditional Superannuation programmes.


The MHR RemData Service is New Zealand’s longest established commercial salary survey. Launched in 1959 the survey has operated successfully as the Greenwood Survey, the PA Survey, and CubikSurvey. Since 2010 the service has been owned and operated by MHR Global. The owner and founder of MHR Global has been instrumental in the development of the service since 1989.

The survey data is updated twice annually, in March and September, and provides users with a wide range of online reports examining al aspects of remuneration practice in New Zealand. As a result it remains a primary source of information on remuneration practices and trends.


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