Salary survey #1 – sales & leadership roles

By Jeremy Wilson August 04, 2015 Industry News

We were pleased when NZ Hardware Journal asked Build People to think about a salary review for the hardware channel as one of our regular columns for the magazine.

As you can imagine, this is a hot topic for us! Every client and candidate meeting involves a discussion on salary and it’s not unusual for someone to pull out a survey by a global (corporate) recruitment business which operates in the general sales and/or executive space. 

That’s all well and good but it seems that there’s little information available on equivalent roles in the building industry. I personally specialise in the hardware space while my team deals with the wider building and construction marketplace. 

We will address sales and leadership roles in this article and follow up with a marketing and executive overview at a later date.



The salary figures we quote below are based on the roles we have placed over the last 12 months and are generated by our recruitment system. 

The figures are taken from two perspectives. The first is the median salary across the most recent 25 roles placed in that category and the second is the average across the top five highest paid candidates in the category. 

If you like this could be translated as “median employer” (or one hiring a less experienced candidate) and “highly competitive employer” (or one recruiting a highly experienced candidate).

At this junction a question about demand affecting Christchurch would be fair. In our considerable recent experience of that area, salaries are on average 8% higher than the Auckland region figures stated here.

Account Manager – Hardware (supplier to merchant):

Median salary              $65,456
Top 5 salary                 $78, 781 

Area Manager / Territory Manager (typically merchant/contractor/specifier):

Median salary                $71,500

Top 5 salary                   $78,250

Business Development Manager (senior sales, construction/specifier):
Median salary                $81,600

Top 5 Salary                  $95,000

Key / National Account Manager (hardware head office):

Median salary                $93,333

Top 5 salary                   $111,000

National Sales Manager (hardware or supplier to end user):

Median salary                $120,000

Top 5 salary                   $142,000

There is a real deviation in the above sales management figures that is worth discussing. Firstly I’m accustomed to placing great candidates (as part of a targeted search brief) at higher than the levels indicated. 

In saying that, it is a role that can be filled with either a candidate currently at that level or by a National Account Manager looking to step up. 

Remuneration also seems to depend on existing relationships at head office level, as well as demonstrated team development and, of course, actual commercial acumen (P&Ls, EBIT), as well as qualifications.



Bonuses are not taken into consideration here. We have found these vary from company to company and are worthy of a whole separate article. As a general rule, though, Territory Managers are earning circa 10% of their base salary and this seems to carry over into other areas of the market.

Likewise benefits. Items such as medical, superannuation, extended holiday periods all have commercial value and can form part of a package. We will look to address bonuses and benefits in an additional article.

We of course welcome any questions you may have as employee or employer. The figures we have indicated are not taken from a survey or some spreadsheet from a global corporate but are the figures we are negotiating every day as an industry specific recruiter.



Jeremy Wilson is General Manager of Build People, a search recruitment business with contacts across hardware, consumer goods, electronics and FMCG. Call 021 732 788 or visit  for more information.

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