View pay ranges for jobs and find out how qualifications can affect what you earn.
Job pay rates and pay ranges
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Effect of education on income
NCEA Level 2 and University Entrance (UE) usually lead to higher incomes than no school qualifications.
- People with NCEA Level 2 on average earn 30% more, nine years later, as those in work who left school at the same time without qualifications.
- People with UE earn on average 25% more than those with NCEA Level 2.
Tertiary study and apprenticeships
Tertiary qualifications usually lead to higher incomes, particularly qualifications at Level 4 or above.
Apprenticeships usually lead to higher incomes in the short term than university qualifications.
- Soon after qualifying, people who've completed an apprenticeship often earn more than university graduates.
- 12 years after qualifying, university graduates' total earnings are usually more than those with trade qualifications like apprenticeships.
Subjects also affect incomes
Performing and visual arts graduates usually earn less than graduates qualified in subjects like engineering, law, accounting, banking, computer science and medicine.
Find out which qualifications lead to higher salaries
The Compare Study Options tool shows earnings and employment rates for graduates with different qualifications.
Your personal skills and talents can affect your income
Qualifications don't make a difference to some people's income.
- One in five people with no qualifications earn more than the average income for graduates.
- Around a third of graduates earn on average less than people with school qualifications only.
Other factors affecting income
Your pay can be affected by:
- the economy, the demand for workers when you're looking for a job, your region, industry, employer and role
- being a mother
- how well you negotiate your starting pay.
How to negotiate your starting pay
Most employers expect you to negotiate your salary when they make a job offer. This is a good way to increase your income.
Income isn't everything - how to find a job you'll love
Although income is important, so is finding a job you will be good at and enjoy.
These tools can help you find a job you'll love.
Find out more
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
- The Conversation website - How parenthood continues to cost women more than men
- Scott, D, 'Education and Earnings, a New Zealand Update', June 2020, (www.educationcounts.govt.nz).
- Sorted, 'Get Paid What You're Worth and Close the Gender Pay Gap', 2 May 2022, (www.sorted.org.nz).
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Earnings by Year, Sex, Ethnic Group and Age', (stats.govt.nz).
This page was updated on 3 July 2023 with new research findings and new links.
Updated 3 Jul 2023