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Thread: Public service salary advice

  1. #1
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    Default Public service salary advice

    I'm originally from NZ. I graduated with a BA/LLB last year and moved to Australia for a job at the beginning of 2012. I currently work in the legal industry and earn $70k AUD as a new grad in Melbourne. I have recently interviewed for a position with a government department in NZ for a job as a policy analyst. I have made it to the second round of interviews, and I have no idea as to what kind of salary expectations to have. I am more interested in policy than law, which is why I am considering moving to Wellington.

    The advertisement says job band 15, I have no idea what this means. I have been unable to find a salary guide online. What can I expect? I would like the job, but I am mindful of the fact that I'm a recent graduate and I do not want to have to take too much of a pay cut.

    If anyone can offer some advice, I'd appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    I think it is not a secret. They have a salary range for job bands, you can just ask for it. You can also speak to recruitment agencies and get information. There are some specific ones for public sector, you can find this by looking at the advertisers for Public Sector jobs in SEEK.

  3. #3
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    The salary bands differ for each Government Department, there isn't a single one for all - similarly the letters/numbers of the bands are not the same between departments. I am a senior operational policy advisor/analyst on Band G (I think - can't remember, sorry). Also, the same job title and level of responsibility is paid differently between Departments. I actually really struggled to get uptodate salary bands for Government jobs - they are not always willing to give them out.

    Having said that, from what I saw when I applied policy analyst jobs tend to range from $55k up to $70k - very roughly speaking. Although the band can be wider, and can start higher depending on the Department and the level of seniority within the title - so you can have two jobs called policy analyst but one is aimed at graduates and one at someone with 3 years experience and the pay grade will be different despite having the same title.

    Generally when you find out the pay scale the appointable range will be in the first 50% of the scale (so the 100% appointment level will be 50% of the complete scale so you always have room to grow) - although they will go over that if they really want you. So if you are given a pay scale check whether you have the full scale or the appointable scale.

    If you let us know which Department I can see if I have access to the pay scale through the public service intranet when I'm back in the office - that won't be until the New Year though.

    I don't know what the exchange rate with the Aus$ is - as in no concept whatsoever! However at Analyst level and if you are a fairly recent graduate I don't know how likely it would be that you could get NZ$70.

    The other consideration, as you allude to, is your longer term career. Wellington is an awesome place if you are interested in working in policy - there are a lot of jobs in one place! Being in the civil service is also great longer term as it opens up the opportunity for significant career development either through training, secondment or simply internal vacancies. Also, as Wellington is small, once you're in and get to know people it can really start to open up opportunities for you. I love living and working in Wellington and would heartily recommend it.

    Happy to answer any questions you may have either here on the thread, or PM me (you need to have made a minimum number of posts to send a PM - can't remember how many - 5 maybe?).

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    Yes, five.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the detailed response, Lauralocks. The job I am being interviewed for is with the Ministry of Health. I have looked on the internet for a list of salary bands with that department and have had no luck with finding any information. It's very different from Australian government jobs where they explicitly list the $$/salary band. I wish there was more clarity with public service jobs in NZ, but alas.

    $70k AUD works out to about $88k NZD, it sounds like a lot for a graduate but the cost of living is very high in Melbourne, so it all kind of comes out in the wash. Like you said, I am thinking more in terms of what I actually want to do, rather than what pays well, so if I have to take a pay cut to get into a career I actually am interested in then I will. I just don't want to be in financial discomfort.

    I grew up in Auckland, I have only been to Wellington twice. Once on a school trip to parliament and once as an adult to visit friends. I really enjoyed both trips and although Wellington is much smaller than Auckland or Melbourne, I think I would be happy living there.

    Thanks again for the help!

  6. #6
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    I don't believe there is a set salary scale across the public sector as each Govt department can set their own bands/benefits etc. I'd say, from what I've seen, the scale Lauralocks has given is probably about right though for Policy analysts. But I would ring the HR contact and ask for the range. They should be able to give it to you.

    In my dept, the salary scales tend to range from 85% to 120% "of band". Most people will be offered 100% or lower, to ensure plenty of room for growth.

  7. #7
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    I don't have the scales for Health, I do have a little experience with them though - the scale for a Senior Advisor role I was offered was $66,680 to $100,020. It is a slightly broader scale than we have for the same level (senior advisor) in my Department.

    Based on the exchange rate you mention you would be very unlikely to get that at Analyst level. That is closer to a Senior Analyst/Advisor level and even then it is unlikely to be a starting salary. I really don't think that money is everything, having a fulfilling job is more important - having said that you do need enough to live on so check out rents etc in Wellington before you make a decision.

  8. #8
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    I got offered the job. So, I guess I'm moving to Wellington!

    Lauralocks, thanks again for your advice on what kind of salary expectations to have. You were spot on in your first estimate of $55k to $70k.

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    Congratulations!

  10. #10
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    Manks is offline Serial procrastinator and general busybody
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    Congrats

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