Wage/salary income includes any gross earnings received from any employer, from which PAYE was deducted. Specifically excluded are:
- New Zealand Superannuation
- Taxable welfare benefits
- Student allowances
- Earnings-related ACC payments, and
- Shareholder-employee salaries (since there was no PAYE deducted).
All data is published on a March year basis.
The table includes individuals with part-time or part-year PAYE incomes and can also include children. Individuals who did not receive any wage or salary income (as defined above) are not included in the table.
The data up to the 2015 March year in the table and graphs was based on a random sample of individuals scaled up to population estimates. The sample was 2% of wage and salary earners, and 10% of IR3 filers (with wages or salaries).
From the 2016 March year onwards the data is based on data from the full population.
Tabulated data on wage and salary distributions of individuals from the 2001 to 2021 March years is available for download from the link at the bottom of the page. This release revises previously published information for the 2019 and 2020 March years.
Data was extracted on 1 December 2022.
Number of wage/salary earners by March year
The graph above shows the total number of wage and salary earners as recorded by PAYE data in each March year. In the year to March 2022, the number of wage and salary earners increased by 1.7% to 2,709,820 following a -2.3% decline in the prior year. The prior year decline was due to COVID-19 impacts.
Number of individuals with wage/salary income by income band
The graph above shows the number of individuals with wage and salary income by income band for the years to March 2001, 2011, 2021 and 2022. The number of individuals earning less than $10,000 in wage and salary has decreased from 17.8% of the wage and salary earners in 2001 to 14.8% in 2021 and 13.6% in 2022. The number of individuals with wage and salary income exceeding $150,000 has increased from 1.8% of wage and salary earners in 2001 to 3.7% in 2021 and 4.4% to 2022.
Number of individuals with wage/salary income by income band, exceeding $10,000
The graph above has truncated the high numbers of individuals at the lower end of the wage and salary income distribution and hence provides a more easily viewed distribution of wage and wage income between $10,000 and $150,000. The graph illustrates the gradual movement of the income distribution over 21 years due to wage and salary increases.
Aggregate wage/salary income received by individuals by income band
The graph above is truncated at $150,000 but illustrates increases in the value of wages and salaries paid to individuals. Total wages and salaries paid to individuals has increased 8.9% to $161,022 million between the March 2021 and March 2022 tax years.
The effect of annual wage and salary increases can be seen in this graph as a rightwards movement of the curve overtime. This indicates a greater number of individuals across higher wage and salary income bands.