The latest edition of the Hays Salary Guide indicates that there will be pay increases in the building, construction, engineering and property industries; however, the increases will be significantly lower than expectations. The Hays Salary Guide is prepared based on a survey of more than 3,400 organisations.

According to the report, 88 percent of construction, engineering and property industry employers will increase salaries in their next review, up from 84 percent. However, the value of these increases will fall: 54 percent intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3 percent or less, up from 45 percent who did so in their last review. Against 15 percent in the previous review, just 7 percent of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than 6 percent. 

Among the architecture professionals interviewed by Hays, 22 percent expect no increase, 29 percent expect 3 percent or less, 29 percent expect between 3 percent and 6 percent, and 20 percent expect a raise of 6 percent or more. More than half (57 percent) view a salary increase as their number one career priority this year.

Simon Bristow, senior regional director of Hays Architecture views the current tug of war over salaries as the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases.

Bristow observes that salary trends vary by location. For instance, activity in NSW is focused on State Government transport and health projects as well as commercial hotel projects, increasing demand for interior designers and architects with public sector or commercial experience. Similarly, demand will rise for senior planners, urban designers and interior designers in Canberra while architects and interior designers, particularly those with Revit experience, will be in demand in Victoria.

Architectural services will be the focus in Tasmania’s strong construction industry, and intermediate level drafters, architects, landscape architects and interior designers have a market in Queensland. Architects continue to be in demand in Perth.

Demand for dedicated interior designers, landscape architects and urban planners will continue in South Australia with the architecture landscape looking upbeat with several major defence and development projects. Project architects can expect good prospects in the Northern Territory.

Key findings of the 2019-20 Hays Salary Guide:

  • Flexible salary packages are offered by 67 percent of the organisations surveyed; of these, 55 percent offer salary sacrifice, 37 percent offer above mandatory superannuation, 33 percent parking, 27 percent bonuses and 26 percent private health insurance;
  • 70 percent of employers offer private expenses as part of benefits to select employees;
  • 68 percent of employers had increased business activity over the past year, with 70 percent expecting it to increase in the next 12 months;
  • 47 percent intend to increase permanent staff levels over the coming year;
  • 70 percent expect skill shortages to impact effective operation of their business (up from 67 percent last year);
  • 54 percent of employers are restructuring to keep up with changing business needs – primarily caused by a change in the required skill sets;
  • 57 percent of employers would consider employing a qualified overseas candidate in skill-short areas.