As building activity ramps up, more design and construction professionals throughout Australia are expected to bring home pay increases.

But the size of increases may be smaller than what many have hoped for.

Releasing the 2021/22 edition of its Hays Salary Guide based in its survey of almost 3,500 organisations, global professional recruiting group Hays says 66 percent of construction employers expect to grant increases in remuneration to their staff during their next round of salary reviews.

This is up from 40 percent who increased salaries during the last review.

A similar story can be observed in other areas of the built environment.

Across disciplines of architecture, engineering, property and trades & labour, 53 percent, 62 percent, 56 percent and 45 percent of employers intend to provide remuneration increases for 2021/22.

This compares with 42 percent, 34 percent, 35 percent and 27 percent who did so last year.

Those expecting large pay rises, however, may face resistance.

Across the above disciplines, between 65 percent and 82 percent of workers surveyed felt that increases of three percent or greater would suitably reflect their value and contribution.

Nevertheless, just 6-20 percent of employers across the relevant areas intend to grant increases of that magnitude.

The latest survey comes as demand for tradespeople and professionals across the construction sector is running hot amid a surge in residential building activity along with a ramp up in work on civil infrastructure projects.

As a result, staff are becoming harder to find.

Job vacancies for construction managers, architects and many types of engineers are back at pre-COVID levels.

Meanwhile, vacancies for trades such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painting trade workers are at or near record levels.

As a result, many workers are in an unusually strong position.

Employers may need to offer higher than normal increases in order to retain their services.

Indeed, the survey found that many workers intend to look elsewhere for opportunities.

All up, between 71 percent and 77 percent of construction professionals, architects, engineers, and property professionals are either currently looking elsewhere or intend to do so within the next twelve months.

Simon Bristow, Senior Regional Director of Hays Construction, said the most obvious strategy to help employers to bridge the gap in pay expectations is to invest in training, development and career progression.

He says a large number of professionals are now refocusing on long-term goals after a year of putting career plans on hold.

Bristow says the importance for employers of addressing this should not be underestimated.

“The value of salary increases is driving a wedge between employers and employees,” he said.

“This divide must be managed sensitively if employers are to retain staff and attract new talent in short supply.”