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Construction surges ahead but salaries lag behind

Construction surges ahead but salaries lag behind: Salary Guide launched

80 per cent of employers say business activity has increased in New Zealand’s construction industry over the last 12 months yet salaries remain steady for most roles, according to the 2014 Hays Construction/NZIOB Salary Guide.

The Guide explores current salaries and recruiting trends in New Zealand’s construction industry. It was produced by Hays Construction and the New Zealand Institute of Building.

It lists typical salaries for construction professionals in 12 locations across New Zealand and compares salaries by project size, construction type and annual turnover.

The Guide also found that:

• 89 per cent of construction employers expect the general economic outlook to strengthen over the coming 6 to 12 months;
• Workers typically work 40 to 49 hour weeks;
• 81 per cent of management staff are men;
• 85 per cent of organisations use contract staff for labour positions;
• 57 per cent say their use of contract staff will increase over the next 12 months;
• 39 per cent of staff remain with an organisation for 3 to 5 years, while 31 per cent stay for 5 to 10 years;
• 77 per cent of employers report difficulty recruiting Quantity Surveyors, making them the most difficult professionals to recruit. This is closely followed by Estimators (76 per cent), Project Managers (75 per cent), Senior Managers (72 per cent), Forepersons (64 per cent) and Site Managers (58 per cent).
• At the other end of the scale, Architects are the easiest to recruit, followed by Cadets/Entry-level, Leading Hands and Engineers.

Commenting on the findings David Cleet, Senior Business Manager of Hays Construction said: “Off the back of the Canterbury rebuild, construction is going through a period of sustained growth. But for many employers, the skills shortage remains the key inhibitor to growth. That’s why salaries in Christchurch have seen some of the sharpest increases nationally. This is most obvious when it comes to Quantity Surveyors, Estimators and Senior Project Managers. As highly prized candidates in short supply, these professionals have been able to command rises of between 5 and 15 per cent.

“In comparison, salary increases in Auckland have been more modest and are generally in line with inflation. This is expected to change given growing demand for skilled professionals. Auckland is already experiencing a residential construction upsurge in response to the housing shortage, while commercial construction is more positive with tower cranes again dotting the skyline.

“While salary pressure has been evident in Wellington, employers have only offered minimal salary increases, similar to Auckland.

“Looking ahead, infrastructure projects, seismic upgrades and improvements to the commercial and residential market will drive growth and add extensive demand pressure to an already tight labour market. High demand, increased workload and a deepening skills shortage will create salary pressure, which employers will need to balance with project budgets.”

Rick Mason, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute of Building said: “The number of projects currently underway, or in the planning stages, in New Zealand together with the calibre of senior personnel that will be required to complete those projects, makes this Salary Guide a ‘must have’ for companies looking to hire or retain responsible and competent construction staff.

“The NZIOB have collaborated with recruiting experts Hays Construction for the past ten years on this annual Salary Guide. It has become an invaluable tool for construction industry professionals, for both career and business planning.”

Please see the full 2014 Hays Construction/NZIOB Salary Guide at

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

- Ends -

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