December 12, 2014

Construction sector leads way on pay

Construction professionals have enjoyed substantial pay rises over the past year, according to new research.

An analysis of job placements made by specialist recruitment company Hays found that the salaries for some professionals had risen by more than ten per cent.

Some of the highest average increases were for contract and project managers, quantity surveyors and site managers. Average construction wage growth of 3.6 per cent was double the UK average, with average increases of more than five per cent reported in London, the South East and the East Midlands.

The survey of more than 10,000 employers and employees indicated that employers were confident their business activity would increase over the next 12 months, with 77 per cent planning to increase headcount in the same period. However, 84 per cent expect to encounter a shortage of suitable candidates when doing so.

Although salary increases have been greater in construction than other professions, dissatisfaction with pay is higher with 65 per cent of employees unhappy with their pay and 35 per cent planning to move jobs as a result. Overall, 63 per cent of employees anticipated moving jobs in the next 12 months

Andrew Bredin, managing director of Hays construction and property, said on 11 November: “Jobseekers often have the pick of two or three jobs, they get snapped up quickly by employers and they often receive a counter offer from their current employer, which can push their salary up even further.

“Some employees have already spotted they can earn more and decided to make a career move. Others will follow suit over the next 12 months and the situation could soon reach crisis point for employers fighting for the talent they need.

 “With construction employees reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with pay, employers will need to look at what they can offer in order to attract and retain the best employees.”

While pay may be an important consideration in attracting and retaining staff, there may be other, low cost ways for construction and other employers to hold on to their key people, reducing costs and improving efficiency in the process.

In improving staff retention, employers may find it helpful to review employment-related procedures and policies, from job descriptions and the recruitment and selection process – to ensure they employ the right people in the first place – through to appraisal systems, training programmes, opportunities for career progression and communication policies.

Offering schemes that improve work-life balance – such as more flexible ways of working – could also provide a valuable employee benefit.

Palmers can provide comprehensive employment law services to construction sector employers including reviewing, updating and drafting employment-related documentation, tailored to specific requirements, and advice on issues such as employees’ rights to request flexible working and shared parental leave. We can also advise on and draft employment contracts. For more information, please contact Lara Murray.