SEEK Employment Trends: quarterly salary update across industries – who’s paying what?

As the competition for talent continues to grow, it’s fair to expect that salaries would also be rising in order to lure sought-after skills. However, while the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads are increasing, experts say salaries aren’t quite keeping up.

SEEK job ads increased by 4.7% year-on-year in August 2016, with each state and territory recording positive results month-on-month. Experts say this growth is not being reflected in salaries. “We’re not seeing salary growth across the board – it’s more on a case-by-case basis,” says Matt Gribble, ‎Regional Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at recruitment firm PageGroup. “Wage growth is still quite stagnant.”

Andrew Brushfield, Director Victoria and Western Australia at recruitment firm Robert Half, says many companies are encouraged to review salaries only when employees announce their departure. “Companies now need to expect that candidates will receive counter offers and, quite often, an employer will make a counter offer to try to prevent their talent from going elsewhere.”

Salary growth in some sectors

The latest SEEK data shows that a number of industries recorded trend increases in average advertised salaries over the past four months.

In a positive sign for the mining, resources and energy industry, average advertised salaries are also starting to stabilise at lower levels. They increased by 3% year-on-year in August 2016 and are now advertised at an average of $115,554.

Shaun McCambridge, Managing Director of Stellar Recruitment, says employers in the mining industry are looking at additional ways to attract talent back to the industry. “Ironically, even though there’s been many jobs shed across the industry over the past four years, it’s still challenging to find good people because, up until recently, no one has had the confidence to move and a lot of people have left the sector,” he explains. “Some of our clients have started to offer training campaigns again, which is normally something you see in the boom part of the cycle. I’d also say that salaries in mining are holding reasonably steady.”

Average advertised salaries showed the strongest increasing trends in industries such as administration and office support, where they grew by 3% year-on-year to $55,977. The information and communication technology sector also experienced a 2% increase, growing to an average advertised salary of $101,927 in August 2016. The hospitality and tourism industry also recorded increases in average advertised salaries in August 2016, growing by 2% year-on-year to $60,109.

The government and defence industry experienced the greatest percentage increase in average advertised salaries, growing by 7% year-on-year to $90,372 this August. Christine Liew, Client Solutions Manager at recruitment firm Adecco Group, is also noticing a growth in salaries across the sector. “In NSW and Victoria this year, some of the lower level administrative positions that would normally be classified as Level 2 are now being classified as Level 3, so there has definitely been an increase,” she says. “I think there’s a misconception that government doesn’t pay very well but the salaries are quite comparative to other industries, especially in the mid-range. When you move into more of a specialised role, such as policy advising or planning, the private sector does tend to be more competitive.”

A minor slip in salary for some sectors

Industries that experienced a year-on-year decline in average advertised salaries include advertising, arts and media. They slipped by 1% to $75,756 in August 2016. The legal sector also saw a small year-on-year decline of 1%, with the average advertised salary this August sitting at $90,934.

Banking and financial services also saw a slip of 1% year-on-year with an average advertised salary in August 2016 of $86,970. “Companies will need to push the boat out a little further for candidates with specialised skills sets, such as financial reporting,” warns Brushfield. “They certainly need to be on the mark with money, but they also need to be across things like training and development initiatives that add flexibility.”

With the volume of SEEK job ads continuing to rise, employers may need to reconsider their salary packages in order to attract and retain the best talent. “Employers can’t afford to take their foot off the gas,” adds Brushfield.

Average advertised annual salary package for full-time roles across industries

Industry classification August 2015 August 2016 YOY % change
Accounting $82,406 $83,142 1%
Administration and office support $54,581 $55,977 3%
Advertising, arts and media $76,155 $75,756 -1%
Banking and financial services $88,209 $86,970 -1%
Call centre and customer service $57,135 $57,867 1%
Community services and development $67,413 $73,192 9%
Construction $103,439 $105,139 2%
Consulting and strategy $107,989 $105,306 -2%
Design and architecture $77,755 $78,585 1%
Education and training $76,122 $80,279 5%
Engineering $99,907 $103,273 3%
Farming, animals and conservation $70,128 $72,853 4%
Government and defence $84,743 $90,372 7%
Healthcare and medical $86,141 $87,913 2%
Hospitality and tourism $58,897 $60,109 2%
Human resources and recruitment $80,854 $83,047 3%
Information and communication technology $100,236 $101,927 2%
Insurance and superannuation $81,194 $80,826 0%
Legal $92,047 $90,934 -1%
Manufacturing, transport and logistics $70,761 $73,423 4%
Marketing and communications $84,703 $85,604 1%
Mining, resources and energy $112,289 $115,554 3%
Real estate and property $70,230 $70,585 1%
Retail and consumer products $57,882 $58,888 2%
Sales $77,859 $80,368 3%
Science and technology $82,028 $85,929 5%
Sport and recreation $64,737 $63,848 -1%
Trades and services  $62,175 $63,486 2%

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