No matter what kind of job you’re applying for or what stage of your career you’re at, knowing your worth when it comes to remuneration is key. While there is a growing trend for employers to be more transparent in displaying the salary range when advertising a vacancy (“show the salary”), it can still be hard for job seekers to navigate salary negotiations and where exactly they should be pitching themselves to prospective employers!

Common job seeker wisdom is that you take your current salary level as your starting point, but how do you even know if your current level is a true and fair reflection of your skills and abilities? Let our top tips for knowing your worth help:

Use Salary Guides:

First things first, as of April 2024 the current minimum wage for adults in New Zealand is $23.15 per hour which equates to just over $48K as an annual salary. So you definitely shouldn’t be considering anything below that rate!

There are lots of online salary guides available that are specific to the NZ job market which can be really handy tools for getting a sense of whether you’re currently paid at the market level for the type of work you do:

Careers NZ Salary Guide
SEEK Salary Guide
Trade Me Salary Guide
PayScale Salary Guide
Hays Salary Checker

These are just a few examples of the online tools available, but there’s plenty more out there! Put your googling skills to use and see if you can find online guides for your sector.

Ask for Salary Ranges:

If you see a vacancy that has piqued your interest, but the salary information isn’t obvious, don’t be afraid to get in touch to find out the salary range on offer for the role. Putting together a compelling application is time consuming, so don’t waste your time on something that isn’t going to pay your worth.

If the vacancy has contact details listed, give them a call or send them an email requesting more information on the salary band for the role in question. If there aren’t any obvious contact details, try looking on the organisation’s website to see if they have the role with more information listed there, or at the very least an email address or phone number for you to get in touch. Most recruiters and hiring managers are happy to share this kind of information, so no need to feel timid about asking!

Talk to Friends and Peers:

As the old adage goes, we don’t know what we don’t know. While many people prefer to keep their earnings private for a number of reasons, if you don’t talk to others about salaries and what’s fair and reasonable for your line of work, how do you ever know if you’re on the right track?

Use your networks to ask around, and remember that LinkedIn is full of people doing similar work – you have nothing to lose by reaching out to people to enquire whether you’re on the right track in terms of your own remuneration expectations, and everything to gain! Just keep in mind that if people are generous enough to share personal information with you regarding their own salary levels, please treat this confidentially and with discretion. New Zealand is a village after all!

Utilise Job Board filters:

Most people will head to a job board like Seek, LinkedIn or Trade Me Jobs when it’s time to find a new role and while some listings will display salary information, many don’t. However, we can let you in on a little secret – a salary range must be entered in for most job postings when they’re being listed, so even if you can’t see the salary information in the ad, it’s likely hiding away somewhere behind the scenes. Using the salary filter option on job boards can help you figure out whether the role you’re interested in fits within your own expectations.

If for example, you enter in your salary expectation as $65K in the Seek search filters, the roles you’ll then be shown should include $65K somewhere within their range – it could be the top or bottom end of the pay bracket so it’s still worthwhile getting in touch to confirm just in case. It’s not an exact science, but it’s a good start!

Do Good Jobs is a job board leading the way in terms of requiring all advertisers to show the salary information for any vacancy listed, so if you’re interested in roles that “do good”, make sure you check out their opportunities!

If you’re feeling a bit uncertain about how to talk about your salary expectations, we have some advice on how to handle the conversation during a recruitment process here. If you’re considering part time roles, remember that the salary range you’re seeing might be for the full time equivalent rather than the hours you’ll actually work, an easy mistake to make! We can help you figure out FTE’s and salaries here.

Keep in mind that salaries can and do vary across sectors and industries, so just because you earn a certain level in one role doesn’t necessarily mean that it will translate to an equivalent position in a different sector. Charitable and not-for-profit organisations can sometimes find it harder to compete with the salaries on offer at government or private entities, but that’s not always the case so if you’re ever in doubt it always pays to find out!

Good luck,
Kirsty and Nikki

Dealing with Career Setbacks
Transitioning to Leadership (Part Two)