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Project management salary review

PM News
March 14, 2011

Project managers have much to celebrate if the 2010 Hays Salary Guide issued by global recruitment firm Hays is anything to go by. According to a survey of more than 1,800 employers across Australia and New Zealand, demand for talent is set to increase.

“There is new optimism in the market with 67 percent of employers surveyed predicting the economy will strengthen in the next 12 months. This is in stark contrast to this time last year when only six percent thought the economy would improve,” said Nigel Heap, managing director of Hays Asia Pacific. “This increased confidence is further illustrated by 45 percent of respondents intending to increase permanent headcount and 22 percent expecting to increase their use of temporary and contract staff.”

In the last year, respondents in the professional services sector recorded the largest percentage of employees receiving a salary increase of six percent or more with 14 percent indicating this had occurred, including four percent who said they had increased their salary by more than 10 percent. Both the mining and resources and construction, property and engineering sectors also had four percent of respondents indicating salary increases of 10 percent of more.

The recruitment trends also look good for project managers, particularly in the IT sector where 43 percent of those surveyed had increased staff levels in the past 12 months with 36 percent expecting staff levels to increase in the coming year. For engineering, the figures were also high, with 39 percent increasing staff levels in the past 12 months and 60 percent looking to recruit more staff in the coming year.

The guide provided further detail in three areas: procurement, IT and construction/engineering. Hays noted that the previous oversupply of procurement candidates is about to turn into a talent-short market and that employers would therefore need to adjust their salary offering to above market rate.

The trend showed that economic confidence is “leading to more project-based ventures” with demand to rise for candidates who have worked on greenfield projects. Positions in the oil and gas industry are particularly lucrative, with companies reportedly prepared to compete for specialist talent.

The IT sector is also in recovery with rich pickings for project managers; IT project managers can expect to earn between $90-120K per annum, with IT program directors worth approximately $140-170K a year.

The outlook is also strong, with businesses looking for “strong project managers and business analysts with functional experience”, according to Hays. This is evident also in the public sector where “skills shortages continue for specialist project managers, business analysts and test analysts, despite the high number of active candidates in the market”.

Hays credits the Federal Government’s stimulus package for reviving the construction/engineering sector, including infrastructure projects nationwide. Furthermore, “architecture and engineering consultancies are also making their way back to positive territory. They benefited from the stimulus packages and are enjoying the fact there are projects to tender for,” notes Hays.

Senior project managers for building service contractors appear to pull an upper payscale of $120-165K, while building construction project managers in the private sector command up to $200K in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia. By comparison, those in local government can expect half of that salary.

Overall, the outlook for project managers in a number of industries is largely positive with a rise in both recruitment and salary expectations.

To view a copy of the 2010 Hays Salary Guide, see

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