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Wellington offering New Zealand’s top salaries and life satisfaction

29 Jan 2016

The New Zealand city hailed the ‘coolest capital in the world’ continues to offer the hottest salaries and most affordable big city housing to Australians considering a move across the ditch.

Wellington houses
Living in Wellington appeals to those across the Tasman

The New Zealand city hailed the ‘coolest capital in the world’ continues to offer the hottest salaries and most affordable big city housing to Australians considering a move across the ditch.

Job search company Seek found the average advertised salary in Wellington for 2015 was NZD$80,348, the most for any region in New Zealand and 6% higher than any other.

Auckland was in second spot on NZD$75,856, with Taranaki a place back on NZD$72,475. The average advertised annual salary across New Zealand was NZD$73,873.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency Chief Executive Chris Whelan says that with more highly-skilled jobs, higher salaries and a lower cost of living than New Zealand’s other big cities, Wellington suits smart people looking for a great lifestyle.

“Australasian professionals who’d like to advance their careers, get into a reasonably-priced family home, and live in a city that’s known internationally for culture, cuisine and creativity, should take a good look at Wellington.

“Plus, with the residential property market in the region showing signs of increasing activity, Wellington also offers long-term wealth creation opportunities.”

The median house price in Wellington in October 2015 was NZD$435,000, compared to Auckland’s NZD$765,000. The national median was NZD$459,500, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures.

Seek spokesperson Sarah Macartney says Seek’s online job advertisements in Wellington were Education and Training (+36%), construction (+20%), Advertising and the Arts (+14%), Human Resources (+14%) and Science and Technology (+11%).

“The diversity of growing industries in Wellington highlights the breadth of opportunities that are available. As the capital of New Zealand, there is a lot more to Wellington’s employment market than government jobs.

“[And] Wellington’s commitment to creating a vibrant arts and culture community is evident in the growth of job opportunities in this industry,” Ms Macartney says.

Wellington-based company Trade Me says IT was its most listed job category in Wellington in 2015.

In the last quarter of 2015 the Wellington IT sector also had the highest average advertised salary, sitting at NZD$114,498. It was followed by Government jobs on NZD$88,972, Marketing, Media and Communications roles (NZD$79,635), and Engineering (NZD$79,211).

Head of Trade Me Jobs Peter Osborne says they currently have 1,539 Wellington jobs listed, with 192 (12%) of those in IT.

“Wellington appears to be bucking the trend of the rest of the country, where the number of IT roles being listed has reduced over the last two quarters.”

While salaries are New Zealand’s highest, Wellington was rated the most affordable city in Australasia in the 2014 Mercer Cost of Living survey, and 89% of its residents rated their overall quality of life positively in the biennial 2014 Quality of Life survey.

Wellington is a gastronome’s delight with more cafes, bars and restaurants per capita than New York City. It also has fresh food markets and cuisine festivals, including the iconic Visa Wellington on a Plate, making the city the culinary capital of New Zealand.

The events capital of New Zealand is another title bestowed on Wellington. Over the summer months the New Zealand Fringe Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Wellington Wine & Food Festival, and the New Zealand Festival will bring a touch of culture to the capital.

Wellington is also home to some of New Zealand’s top arts institutions such the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The city’s CBD is surrounded by a protected green belt intersected with walking and cycling tracks perfect for a spot of lunchtime or after-work fun. And the CBD is just two kilometres in diameter so you can walk to most meetings in 20 minutes or less.

Enjoying an efficient public transport system that is the most used in New Zealand, the average commute in Wellington is only 25 minutes on roads that have the least traffic congestion of any city in the country.

Wellington also has a vibrant and growing inner-city population with more than 17,100 people living in the three main central suburbs (Wellington Central, Kelburn and Te Aro), according to Wellington City Council’s 2013 Community Profile.

To find out more about moving to Wellington and search jobs, visit