Image by Mohamed Hassan

Property sector wages are rising well ahead of the broader population according to a new report, which found skills shortages had been felt by close to half of responding companies. 

The report by remuneration specialists Avdiev found the property sector had seen pay rates increase by three per cent on average, well ahead of the broader Wage Price Index, which was around 1.7 per cent.

It found the unmet demand for labour was driving higher than usual pay increases to retain existing staff and attract highly sought-after recruits.

The skills shortages were felt across the entire industry, according to the report, including senior development managers, ICT roles, analysts, planners, valuers in regions, architects, interior designers and project managers. 

In total, 49 per cent of property companies reported to have experienced significant skills shortages.

One respondent in the building, construction and residential sector commented they were seeing “silly money being offered to inexperienced staff”.

Another in the design and building consultant field said it was “definitely an employees’ market right now” and reported giving 20 per cent pay increases, which was in the upper ranges.

While the trend is affecting much of the industry, not every worker is reaping the benefits. A reported 11 per cent of companies in the property sector still had a wage freeze and three per cent had cut wages.

Skills shortages aside, principal at Avdiev Report, Debra Moloney said the data and responses showed that as a whole the industry had escaped “relatively unscathed” from the pandemic.

“The property industry is well known for surviving peaks and troughs, which perhaps put it in good stead for dealing with the pandemic,” she said.   

Nearly one-in-five respondents, or 18 per cent, offered higher-than-usual pay increases to make up for freezes in 2020, while 43 per cent offered their usual full pay increases in the year to September 2021. 

States that avoided lengthy lockdowns understandably saw the least impact from the pandemic, although even those that did were recovering strongly.

Of respondents in WA, 86 per cent said they are doing “well” or “very well”, compared to 79 per cent in NSW and 73 per cent in Victoria. 

In fact, 29 per cent of WA property companies and 24 per cent in Queensland said they were doing better than before COVID-19.

“The industry as a whole has continued on quite strongly, despite the lockdowns, and is well positioned as the economy begins to reopen,” Ms Moloney said.

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