Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wage gap across the ditch to increase

The trans-Tasman wage gap is likely to grow this year, a new survey has found.

The study of 250 Australian and 180 New Zealand businesses found that almost 80 per cent of Aussie employers planned to boost wages in line with inflation over the year.

Across the Tasman, just over half of Kiwi businesses would boost pay packets, according to the poll conducted by accounting firm Grant Thornton.

A partner at Grant Thornton New Zealand, Peter Sherwin, said the country "might be on the cusp of another brain drain".

"It is not a good sign to see the skilled younger people leave the country," he said.

Not only will this trigger a skills shortage in New Zealand, but the country will suffer as the result of reduced tax payments.

Mr Sherwin said the reluctance to increase New Zealand wages is a ripple effect of last year's tough economic climate.

"New Zealand went into recession, Australia didn't," he said.

"The impact of that is that there's been more pain and suffering in New Zealand businesses than in Australia through reduced sales and therefore profitability."

Big businesses are moving their headquarters to Australia, forcing highly skilled Kiwis to cross the ditch and take the "greatest financial carrots dangled in front of them".

"A number of higher paying jobs that we used to have have migrated," Mr Sherwin said.

"The last thing New Zealand wants now is to have our recovery stalled by a shortage of talent."

By Nicky Park, 9News 

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