Salary increases unlikely to excite this year: Hays Salary Guide released for construction, architecture and engineering

Source: Hays Specialist Recruitment - 

29 June 2016

Business activity and permanent headcounts may be rising, but according to the 2016 Hays Salary Guide they are not translating into wide-ranging salary increases for Australia’s construction, architecture and engineering workers. With employers for the most part unwilling to loosen the purse strings, the recruiter warns that employees will start to take matters into their own hands.

According to the Guide, released today, 25% of construction, property and engineering employees can expect a salary increase of between 3 and 6% in their next review, while 4% can expect 6 to 10%. Just 1% of employees can expect an increase above 10%. Instead over half of Australia’s construction, property and engineering workers (57%) will receive an increase of less than three per cent. The final 13% will receive no increase.

The Hays Salary Guide includes salary and recruiting trends for over 1,000 roles in 14 locations in Australia and New Zealand. It is based on a survey of 2,752 organisations, representing over 2.6 million (2,686,179) employees.

“Many states and territories are experiencing a busy construction and building industry, with certain construction, architecture and engineering skills in demand,” says Adam Shapley, Senior Regional Director of Hays. “But overall it’s clear that employers remain reluctant to offer substantial increases unless absolutely necessary to secure a candidate with skills in short supply.”

According to Hays, over the last year 16% of construction, property and engineering employers offered no salary increases. Those who did receive a salary increase found that their wallets were not that much heavier. 46% received an increase of less than 3%, 27% saw their pay increase from 3 to 6%, and 8% saw an increase of 6 to 10%. The final 3% received an increase of more than 10%.

But Hays warns employers not to be complacent, because employees are starting to take matters into their own hands. As Adam explains, “41% of employees say they’ll ask for a pay rise in their next review. Another 25% are as yet undecided about popping the salary question. Meanwhile staff turnover has already increased in 29% of organisations.”

Other key findings:

Construction trends

“In terms of staffing demand Adam says, “New South Wales’ building industry is experiencing massive growth with Site Managers, Project Managers, Forepersons and Contract Administrators are in short supply.

Victoria’s construction market is also strong, particularly in Melbourne, with high demand for skilled candidates.

“In South Australia a steady flow of large commercial and infrastructure projects is driving up demand for highly skilled Project Managers and engineering professionals, while candidates with medium density build experience are in solid demand for residential work.

“In the Northern Territory the construction industry is starting to pick up and needs Project Managers, Estimators and Engineers.

“In South East Queensland residential and commercial projects are creating demand for Estimators, Contract Administrators, Forepersons and Project Managers. In contrast, North Queensland is experiencing low levels of hiring activity.

“There’s growing confidence in Canberra's construction market, and the release of land to subdivide has created needs for Project Engineers and Civil Site Managers.

“In Western Australia, the focus is shifting to education, aged care and retail. The downturn in residential construction has seen strong candidates become available.

“In Tasmania cranes are visible on high profile private and public development sites across Hobart, with construction also taking place in Southern Tasmania. 

Architecture and Engineering trends

“Within architecture, Design Architects and Project Architects are needed across the country, particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where those with BIM/Revit skills at all levels are highly sought.

“Similarly engineering firms are on the hunt for Structural and Services Engineers and Designers. Overall, design and delivery for building projects is leading to increased hiring levels, work volumes and salaries. 

“Multi-unit residential developments, large urban regeneration projects and retail or age/health care developments have created demand for Architects and Design Engineers in NSW, Victoria, the ACT and Queensland. Town Planners have been in demand in both the private and public sector leading to upward pressure in contract rates and permanent salaries for planning staff.   

“In civil engineering the significant demand for talent will continue for the next three to five years. There is considerable infrastructure development already taking place or on the drawing board, particularly in NSW but also Queensland, Victoria and the ACT which will provide upward pressure on salaries.”

Get your copy of the 2016 Hays Salary Guide by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2016 iPhone app from iTunes.

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