Unlocking wage growth in Queensland in 2020


It remains to be seen what impact the Morrison’s Government fast-tracked $3.8 billion worth of roads and rail investment will have for Queensland’s labour market, as ‘quick’ wins in the past haven’t always converted to long-term sustainable job and wage growth.

Based on Robert Walters 2020 salary data, Queensland’s jobs market may be subject to economic uncertainty, skills shortages and slow salary growth in 2020, but employers and professionals will prosper if they take a long-term view. For hiring managers, this means focusing on value – not cost – to unlock the potential in the workforce. For professionals, this means embracing development opportunities and seeking out ways to up-skill.


Whatever their budgetary situation, hiring managers should carefully identify top talent within their existing workforce as well as outside it. The definition of “top talent” should not only incorporate professionals’ past experience and current skills, but also their potential.

 Focusing on future potential will widen the net of possible new recruits, ensuring hiring managers don’t miss out on talent who can drive significant returns for their business in the longer term. When assessing someone’s potential, it’s particularly important to consider how an individual’s values align with the values of the organisation.


Turning high-potential talent into high-performing talent requires a clear vision of where the organisation is heading and exactly what skills will be required for the journey. From there, employers can plot clear paths of career progression with high-potential professionals and agree any learning and development required to maximise their contribution to the business. Professionals are more likely to remain with an employer that offers flexible working, competitive salary, and a collaborative workplace culture.


Contingent professionals such as contractors can be an effective solution during process engagement and/or short-term projects. The temporary injection of skills and capacity can dramatically improve the prospects of project success.

 However, hiring contingent workers for extended periods can create more problems than it solves, with a sense of disparity creeping in to teams with a mix of permanent and contract professionals. Unless there is clarity of purpose and engagement, contractors who are retained for a long time can feel they are not valued by their employer; while their permanent colleagues may feel that temporary staff lack long-term commitment. The blend of permanent and contingent workers needs to be carefully planned to ensure the employer and the employees have clarity around what they are trying to achieve.


  • Technology transformations continue: Irrespective of your industry sector, expect fierce competition for specialist tech talent with experience in automation, UX, data analytics, DevOps and cyber security. Change managers and communications specialists will also be in demand.
  • Infrastructure projects stimulate new hires: Billions of dollars in infrastructure projects will be delivered in Queensland in 2020, stimulating demand for specialist construction and engineering roles like project directors and engineering managers, as well as on-site safety professionals.
  • Renewable energy on tenterhooks: As investment ramps up, all eyes will be on the government to see if a cohesive energy policy will emerge (if it does, expect demand to increase for construction and engineering talent in the renewables sector).
  • Contractors’ time to shine: Queensland’s contract market has seen above-average growth in the past 12 months across the accounting & finance, property, infrastructure and energy sectors and we expect this to continue in 2020.
  • Salary growth for finance specialists: Accounts payable, payroll officers and assistant accountants in Queensland are enjoying a period of relatively high salary growth – especially those with advanced technology skills.
  • Accountants and lawyers in demand: Queensland will be short of accounting and legal professionals with five-to-eight years’ post-qualification experience, suggesting some salary growth is possible.
  • Ripples of the Royal Commission: In the wake of Commissioner Hayne’s 2019 report, banks and financial services institutions will compete over a limited pool of experienced risk and remediation talent in 2020.

 Our 2020 Salary Survey provides a more detailed picture of Queensland’s jobs market across numerous roles and market sectors. Request a copy here.

For more hiring advice, contact us.


Share this:


Hiring advice 

Read more »