Gender pay gap revealed in construction

OneStaff has released its ‘What’s My Rate? New Zealand Industrial and Trades Wage Report’ which provides some interesting insights into our core industrial sectors including the construction industry. 

At $24 p/h, the construction and infrastructure sector is smack bang in the middle when it comes to median remuneration.

There was quite a spread across the sector with construction labourers earning a median of $20 p/h and commercial carpenters getting $27 p/h, the same as the median rate in the engineering sector. With 95.77 percent of respondents in this sector being men, the gender pay gap was $4 p/h. However, this doesn’t take into account the different roles worked by men and women.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons for this gap, and it’s certainly something that the sector should investigate and monitor internally,” says OneStaff.


A lot of respondents from this sector were located in Canterbury (27.45 percent) and Auckland (17.13 percent).

“It’s likely that the strong turnout from Canterbury is linked to the post-earthquake construction boom. Employees in this sector have a median of five years’ experience, which seems to be the standard across all sectors. Their happiness levels are equivalent to the other sectors and most of them are either millennials (59.03 percent) or generation X-ers (28.69 percent), with baby boomers being a priority.

Preferred management traits

Those in the construction and infrastructure sector prefer managers who lead by example, have practical experience in the trade and are fair/even handed.

A little less than a third of respondents (29.31 percent) reported working overtime. When considering a new role they valued a great team, career progression, and a higher pay rate. It’s interesting that 32.61 percent of construction and infrastructure employees would move for $4-$5 extra p/h, a figure that skews slightly higher than other sectors.


Engineering has the highest median remuneration of all ($27 p/h), which is expected given it’s a specialist industry that requires years of tertiary study. It’s also long been listed as a skills shortage by the government.

“Maintenance Engineers reported the highest median remuneration ($31 p/h) of all roles in the survey. Only a small percentage of survey respondents were working in this sector – likely because the skill requirements are higher than other sectors – with 9.01 percent of men and just 0.64 percent of women.

“We also see a significant gender pay gap of $5 p/h here. This highlights the gender imbalance in the engineering sector and should provide impetus for employers to open up more pathways for women to enter and progress within the industry.”

Demographics engineering

Once again, most survey respondents in this sector were located in Canterbury (21 percent and Auckland (20.88 percent).

“What’s interesting is that they had the highest median experience of all (seven years), which suggests that Engineers stay in the sector for the long run, bumping up the overall experience, possibly because the roles are typically not as physically demanding as the other industries.

“Their happiness metrics are commensurate with the other sectors, however, despite being paid the most they were the least satisfied with pay transparency.

“Engineers were also the most likely to move without a pay increase, with eight percent saying they would consider a new job at the same rate. The sector has the second highest proportion of Millennials (68.38 percent) followed by Generation X-ers (21.88 percent).

Preferred management traits

Employees in this sector were the only ones to prefer a manager who was knowledgeable, however, it was the third priority behind leading by example and having practical experience.

“Engineering staff were the most likely to do overtime by far with 58.38 percent of respondents saying they work over and above their assigned hours.

“Key factors they would look for in a new role were the same as in other sectors – a great team, career progression, and higher pay. Most would consider moving for an increase of between $2-$5 p/h.”

Median remuneration for general labourer in construction (per hour)









Hawkes Bay




Palmerston North/Whanganui






West Coast








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