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Topic # 8003 27-May-2006 11:15
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I have a question about wages and salaries for people working in the web industry in NZ.

I'm from NZ, but I haven't lived there for 3 years. So I'm really out of touch as to living costs, wages, and salaries in NZ. I'm moving back to NZ with my Argentine girlfriend, and I'm negotiating employment with a British web-solutions provider (with offices in Argentina).
  • I am very advanced with XHMTL, CSS, accessibility, usability, and validity.
  • I have an in-depth understanding and knowledge of web technologies, and open source software.
  • I have a basic skill level with PHP.
  • I have been working freelance from Argentina for 2 years for clients in the UK, USA, Australia, NZ, and Argentina.
  • I have a small but quality portfolio of corporate branding, logo design, web design, and web sites running on Drupal, Open-Realty, phplist and Joomla.
  • I have a gift for learning software and technology.
  • I don't have tertiary IT qualifications, but I have found I have the ability to learn necessary skills and knowledge quickly and easily from resources on the internet, and by example.
What would be the wage or salary for someone with my skills;
  • as a freelancer?
  • as an employee?
  • as a contracted tecnician?
  • hourly, fortnightly or monthly?
  • including/excluding working expenses? (computer, internet, software, office/workplace)
Any information you can provide will be helpful -- and really apreciated! Thanks in advance!

Btw, I'm also open to any job proposals, quote requests, or other inquieries.

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Reply # 36798 27-May-2006 12:08
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I hate to sound negative but you need to be aware of the fact that 80% of NZ'ers earn less than $40K p/year. Obviously you have skills and will earn more than that but by how much I am not sure.




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  Reply # 36802 27-May-2006 13:02
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Yeah, what Jama says...

Some tech jobs pay well in NZ, if the employers have to go overseas to get the skills, and if the companies in question are larger ones. However, the truth is that you'd probably stand a better chance of getting a job like that in Australia.

In NZ, finding a job outside Auckland or Wellington's tough too. That wouldn't matter so much if the cost of living wasn't so high in both cities. I'd say for Auckland, it's fairly hard to get by on $55k a year. You'd have to put up with a massive commute to find affordable accommodation as rents in the central parts of town are steep.

Definitely go with employment rather than freelancing. Self-employment is effectively penalised in NZ compared to being a salaried employee and you definitely don't want to get into all that after moving countries.

Why are you leaving Argentina anyway? Sounds like a pretty cool place....




 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 36814 27-May-2006 15:27
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Hey, thanks for your quick replies! :)

Interesting what you say about self-employment vs ompany employment -- I thought NZ was supposed to be encouraging for small businesses and self-employeds?

Argentina is great, but there's a lot of crap in this part of the world that can be pretty grating.  It's been a long time since I was in NZ and that's where my heart is.

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  Reply # 36817 27-May-2006 15:33
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It'll be better in 2007 and onwards when you can for instance pay GST and provisional income tax every month in adjustable instalments, but for now it's not really worth the hassle. Unless you have a very simple business, you need to fork out for an accountant just to keep you on the right side of the IRD. The job market is pretty good at the moment (even though it's not quite reflected in better salaries) so why bother?

Forgot to say too that the government has introduced a generous benefits programme if you have children, which should make up for some of the low remuneration/high taxation you'll encounter here.

And whatever you do, don't mention NZ broadband...




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  Reply # 36847 28-May-2006 00:23

hi brudge,
im a freelance computer tech, web developer & sysadmin from christchurch. i dont earn very much. $30 - $50 per hour, 5 to 10 hours per week and I work for charity a bit
I have been employed in a couple of tech / IT jobs but, few paid a fair wage for my skill; so I work freelance, and it rocks!
PS. Christchurch is the small business capital of the world.




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  Reply # 36852 28-May-2006 01:00
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juha:...In NZ, finding a job outside Auckland or Wellington's tough too. That wouldn't matter so much if the cost of living wasn't so high in both cities. I'd say for Auckland, it's fairly hard to get by on $55k a year. You'd have to put up with a massive commute to find affordable accommodation as rents in the central parts of town are steep.


I'm currently balancing the decision whether to move up to Auckland at the moment as I'm living in Palmerston North... and its safe to say that there aren't many jobs openings, unless you enjoy working minimum wage retail. On the flipside living costs aren't very high but its just getting frustrating.

However if I move to Auckland I might actually be able to find a job that appeals to me.




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  Reply # 36863 28-May-2006 04:36
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The position I'm negotiating would require me to provide my own workplace (an extra room in a rented house/flat), computer, internet and software (mostly open-source except for adobe studio and dreamweaver). So I'd have to add that to my wage -- Does $10,000 pa sound reasonable for that?

Juha, yeah I've been following the whole broadband debacle. About time something happened there. NZ is seriously disadvanted and restricted.

For example, in Argentina's last census in 2001 there were 36 million people (40% of which are below the poverty line -- Argentina is a developing country), 10 million homes, a million (10%) of which had computers connected to the internet, another 10% had unconnected computers (these low connectivity stats are explained by 1. poverty, and 2. cheap internet cafes, see below).

In December 2005, there were 2.2 million residential access points (double on 2001's census), divided into these categories:
  • 0.8 million (36%) broadband
  • 0.5 million (23%) payng dialup
  • 0.9 million (40%) non-paying dialup
That means 62% of paying internet users have broadband. I think the US has a fairly similar figure, maybe higher. NZ's statistic is about 7 or 8% (http://www.internetnz.net.nz/net-in-nz/facts/, http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/archives/013752.html). Although probably most of you would know better than me.

On top of that, about 80% (my estimate) of young "internet-age" folk (inlcuding a significant portion of the below-poverty kids) have email accounts and/or play network games. The ones that don't have access from home, can get internet access cheaply from the internet cafes that are literally on every block. The cost is just $1 to $1.50 ARS per hour, ($0.50 to $0.75 NZD) -- affordable for even the poor folk. Many people don't have home internet (even if they have a PC) because it's cheaper to go to the internet cafe -- unless they are very heavy internet users.

Not that home broadband is expensive here; You can get broadband starting at $20 ARS ($10 NZD) per month here. I have a 1M cable connection, and I pay $40 ARS ($20 NZD) per month for the first three months, then it doubles in price, and it's still not expensive. Many people have cable TV and internet coming into their houses on one single copper cable. Combination packages start at about $70 ARS ($35 NZD) which gives you 60+ TV channels, and 128k or more cable internet. We don't pay for cable TV but we still use it on the same cable as for internet!

Most broadband users have cable, or are switching to it. ADSL is expensive, slow and lousy, and the ISPs are telecom companies that are bigger blood-sucking robbers than Telecom NZ. Their ADSL clients are the non-techie users that didn't investigate other options. Most small buinesses (and probably many medium and large busineses) have 512k to 8M cable connections from the same ISPs that home users contract.

Remember those figures are from Argentina, which is supposedly a "developing country". That would make NZ "under-developed" -- at least from a connectivity perspective! lol

I'm not dissing NZ, I just think it's about time we got real and got fricken connected. Thanks Helen!

Btw, sorry about all the numbers. I kind of got carried away on Argentina's statistics websites (why are numbers so interesting?). You can see them here http://www.indec.gov.ar/ if you're interested.

cheers,
Bevan/

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  Reply # 36864 28-May-2006 09:09
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brudge: The position I'm negotiating would require me to provide my own workplace (an extra room in a rented house/flat), computer, internet and software (mostly open-source except for adobe studio and dreamweaver). So I'd have to add that to my wage -- Does $10,000 pa sound reasonable for that?


That's about $192 a week or $833 a month if I've got my figures right. Not sure if that's enough to cover the cost of room, electricity, heating, insurance, broadband access, computer hardware and software plus presumably a phone of some kind. If you document it correctly (measure the room and work out the percentages of the bills etc) you can offset the cost of the workplace against your income, but only if you're self-employed in some form. For that, you need to factor in accountancy charges on top, plus ACC levies that depend on how much you earn and the type of work you do.

NZ tax statutes aren't configured properly for your kind of situation - employers can't pay your expenses/costs directly, because if they do, there's likely to be Fringe Benefit Tax on top. That's levied at 66% of the perceived value to the employee... and it's the IRD that perceives the value.

Telecom landline based phone plus DSL with a 5GB cap will set you back around $95 a month. A mobile on top of that... $50/month perhaps, if you try hard not using it. Electricity isn't cheap here either. You could probably get away with a three grand Windows box, but Adobe software is pricey here, so factor that in.

Hard to say really :|

Btw, sorry about all the numbers. I kind of got carried away on Argentina's statistics websites (why are numbers so interesting?). You can see them here http://www.indec.gov.ar/ if you're interested.


Don't apologise - very interesting that, because over here, Telecom's senior management like Rob McLeod who looks set to become the new chairman of the telco after Rod Deane, say that NZ has the broadband uptake it has because it matches the country's standing the OECD GDP rankings. Following that logic, Argentina should not have better broadband than NZ.




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Reply # 36866 28-May-2006 09:20
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cokemaster: I'm currently balancing the decision whether to move up to Auckland at the moment as I'm living in Palmerston North... and its safe to say that there aren't many jobs openings, unless you enjoy working minimum wage retail. On the flipside living costs aren't very high but its just getting frustrating.

However if I move to Auckland I might actually be able to find a job that appeals to me.

Why not move to Wellington or Christchurch? The employment opportunities there are probably not quite as good as Auckland, but they're infinitely more pleasant places to live.

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  Reply # 36867 28-May-2006 09:29
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alasta:Why not move to Wellington or Christchurch? The employment opportunities there are probably not quite as good as Auckland, but they're infinitely more pleasant places to live.


LIES!

Tongue out

Wellie is a seedy little town with horrendous weather and littered with politicians. ChCh seems boring and staid as well, but instead of politicians, you get skinheads roaming the streets. And it's cold. Both towns have a massive Auckland complex, which only adds to their unattractiveness.






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  Reply # 36870 28-May-2006 10:00
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I was just reading your blog about Telecom's purposeful mis-asociation between GDP and Bandwidth uptake. I fully agree. Cheeky aren't they! lol

You're probably right about 10,000 pa being too conservative, but I also need to take into account that I would still be buying a personal box/notebook if I was employed by a NZ company, and I would still be renting a place, and I'd still be getting broadband.  I'll most likely get saturn/telstraclears Triple Service HighSpeed 20G which would allow me to avoid telcoms services completely -- read: not get ripped off. Besides, by matter of opinion, ADSL is a cheap excuse for broadband.  A cellphone I'd hardly use for personal use, and never for this British company. (We do everything via IM, voIP, an issue tracker, and email) So that hardly counts as an expense.  I'll never pay for a Microsoft product -- out of pricipal. :) I'm only windows cuz I can't use Illustrator and Dreamweaver on Linux, and I can't afford an intel mac -- yet. Adobe and Dreamweaver I'd like to pay for one day -- again, out of principal.

I keep forgetting about things like electricity though.  Maybe I can go live next to the windmill and hack some electricity out of it! he he!

It sounds like my main hurdle would be tax. That's something I'm at a loss with. I don't know about it, I don't understand it, I certainly don't care about it, and (worst of all) I prefer it that way. In Argentina I live and work in black. It's easier that way here -- it's common, and not at all risky. It sounds like you know a lot about tax Juha. I don't suppose you'd care to spend a few minutes on the phone/voIP enlightening me? I'm on skype, gizmo, or I can call your landline.

Alasta, I'd have to agree with you on Wtn and Chch being more pleasant. Although I'm clearly biased as I grew up in Auckland's shadow; Hamilton, which is less pleasant than all three in my opinion!

"Wellie is a seedy little town with horrendous weather and littered with politicians. ChCh seems boring and staid as well, but instead of politicians, you get skinheads roaming the streets. And it's cold. Both towns have a massive Auckland complex, which only adds to their unattractiveness."

Ha ha!! lol

How do you do the quote boxes in this forum?  There doesn't seem to be anything in the wysiwyg. Has it got BB code?  What's it running on anyway?  An ASP port of phpBB?  Most pages have 30+ validation errors and 100+ warnings!  :(

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Reply # 36871 28-May-2006 10:03
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juha: Wellie is a seedy little town with horrendous weather and littered with politicians. ChCh seems boring and staid as well, but instead of politicians, you get skinheads roaming the streets. And it's cold. Both towns have a massive Auckland complex, which only adds to their unattractiveness.

There are better places to live than Wellington or Christchurch, but Auckland is not one of them. I have a dream that I will one day live in Taranaki or Marlborough but, as has already been pointed out, it's damn near impossible for anyone with technical qualifications to get a decent job in places like that.

It's not my intention to kick off an Auckland bashing flamewar, since many people actually do like Auckland, but anyone considering living there would be well advised to spend a decent amount of time there before making a committment.

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Reply # 36873 28-May-2006 11:12
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brudge: I never pay for a Microsoft product -- out of pricipal. :) I'm only windows cuz I can't use Illustrator and Dreamweaver on Linux, and I can't afford an intel mac -- yet. Adobe and Dreamweaver I'd like to pay for one day -- again, out of principal.


Going OT (which is ok because this is the OT forum), what principle is this that says it is ok to pay for the software of one company (Adobe) but not pay for software of another company (Microsoft)? Isn't the software performing the actions it should? Is the work of people involved in its development any less valuiable than the work of people involved in another one's development?

brudge: How do you do the quote boxes in this forum?  There doesn't seem to be anything in the wysiwyg. Has it got BB code?  What's it running on anyway?  An ASP port of phpBB?  Most pages have 30+ validation errors and 100+ warnings!  :(


There's a quote button in each post, but you can manually add the [ quote ] and [ /quote ] tagd (without the spaces)...

There's no BB code exactly because there's a rich-text editor available. And an "ASP port of phpBB"? Really, interesting concept, as it sounds as phpBB would be the only forum software, and everything else would be a copy?






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  Reply # 36878 28-May-2006 11:35
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brudge: I'll most likely get saturn/telstraclears Triple Service HighSpeed 20G which would allow me to avoid telcoms services completely -- read: not get ripped off.


TelstraClear cable isn't nationwide though... it's only available in parts of Wellington and Christchurch. Also, TelstraClear is doing a mini-me evil empire thing, by refusing to peer with the rest of New Zealand's internet providers. Means you won't be able to access some NZ content that's available to peering providers.

It sounds like my main hurdle would be tax. That's something I'm at a loss with. I don't know about it, I don't understand it, I certainly don't care about it, and (worst of all) I prefer it that way. In Argentina I live and work in black. It's easier that way here -- it's common, and not at all risky. It sounds like you know a lot about tax Juha. I don't suppose you'd care to spend a few minutes on the phone/voIP enlightening me? I'm on skype, gizmo, or I can call your landline.


No, you really should not take my advice on tax matters - and I don't want to give any either, apart from: go and speak to a good accountant. Taxation stuff is incredibly complex and if you get it wrong, it'll kill you.





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Reply # 36944 28-May-2006 22:07

My name is Theresa Gattung, CEO of Telecom and I get paid 2.9 million NZD per year. Yippie!
Its like winning the lottery every year.




I is a kollege stoodent. Bee nice.

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