According to the latest Hays Salary Guide, 88 per cent of property, construction and engineering industry employers will increase salaries in their next review, up from 84 per cent.
The guide, released last week for the next financial year, finds 54 per cent of employers intend to raise salaries at the lower level of three per cent or less, compared with 45 per cent who did so in their last review.
At the other end of the scale, just seven per cent of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than six per cent (down from 15 per cent in the last review).
For their part, 22 per cent of the property professionals Hays spoke to expect no increase whatsoever, while a further 29 per cent expect three per cent or less.
More than half (57%) said a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. Asking for a pay rise was the number one strategy (46%), while others are looking elsewhere – 41 per cent of jobseekers say their current uncompetitive salary provoked their job search.
“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” says Austin Blackburne, Hays Property’s regional director.
“On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they plan to curtail salary increases.”
Blackburne says there are some exceptions.
“With a number of residential developments in the delivery phase, development managers and assistant development managers are still required, provided they have project management experience. Entry-level candidates with some project exposure are also sought and now receive higher salaries in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
“Due to the maturation of the sector, experienced development directors with experience working on high-end, high-value projects are required too and receive top salaries in all locations.”
Leasing agents and commercial sales agents can command strong salaries, Blackburne says, and the growing industrial market is driving demand for specialists in industrial development, leasing and sales.
“We’re also seeing a requirement for industrial asset managers from agencies as well as larger developers that are bringing this function in-house. Like the commercial market, successful leasing and sales professionals can receive strong salaries.