2017 Property & Construction Salary Survey findings.

Earlier this year, 532 North West property and construction professionals took part in our 2017 salary review.

This years’ survey paints a broadly positive picture with 76% of respondents optimistic about the industry’s economic prospects. ‘Economic Uncertainty’, as an industry challenge, fell by 8% from 2016, however, 30% of the same respondents cited BREXIT as an industry challenge. This suggests a concern for the future of the economy rather than any immediate impact.

With salaries on the up, it’s unsurprising that survey respondents feel positive as 79% of them cite an increased salary as the most important factor to lead them to look for a new job; and 63% believe a bonus is the most important benefit. Whilst salaries have always been an important factor in job searches, we have seen a significant shift towards financial remuneration being the main motivator and much higher salary expectations than in previous years. After an uncertain few years, the tables have turned and we believe candidates feel it is the time for them to be rewarded.

Work-life balance also continues to feature heavily, with flexible working listed as the 3rd most important benefit. Historically, employees expected to sacrifice work-life balance for higher salaries but many now seek out both, particularly those who are new to the industry. We see this trend continuing, with work-life balance becoming as important as salary over the coming years. With more jobs than people, and a notably large skills gap at the middle management / intermediate level, candidates are in a fairly strong position to command high salaries, good benefits packages and work-life balance.

This points to a positive experience for employees but what about employers who are forced to compete in a candidates market? We predict salaries will continue to peak before eventually levelling out when investment in staff and employee culture will become the main differentiator to attract and retain staff. We will see a resurgence of employee initiatives, some of which have been delivered at a fairly low level in recent years, including increased training budgets, health and wellbeing initiatives, talent management, flexible working; and social value programmes. We have already seen a number of SMEs implementing innovative benefits packages, that can compete with large corporates, and predict that ‘non financial’ benefits will become increasingly important to candidates over the next few years.

Other observations include the need for employers to balance increasing salary costs with reduced project fees, with 11% of respondents citing low fees as a major industry challenge affecting quality and profitability. The gender pay gap also persists, with women earning an average £9,971 less than their male counterparts – a gap of 20.4% compared to a UK average of 18.1%. This shows a very small reduction since last year, however, we hope that the mandatory gender pay reporting, brought in earlier this year, may force change over the coming months.

Download the full survey report here and tweet us your views @VerticalRec.