The two sectors driving Australia’s job and wage growth

Wage growth and bonus payments are largely off the table for most of Australia’s 12 million workforce with only a small proportion of specialist roles set to experience any significant uptick in their take home pay or end of financial year bonus this year, according to new research released today.  

The Robert Walters Salary Survey for 2018 has revealed that technology and infrastructure industries will be the two major drivers for job growth this year. Combined these industries employ approximately 1.5 million Australians – or 13% of the Australian labour force.  

Robert Walters Managing Director, James Nicholson said, “Every year there are always specific sectors that will experience better wage growth compared to others. Last year, specialist technology roles such as cyber security were the wage winners thanks to the need for Australian businesses to protect themselves against data manipulation and identity threats, with some roles experiencing 20% wage growth.

In 2018, we are predicting the trend to continue for ICT roles and to further extend into sub-sectors of the technology industry including robotic process automation and roles that develop and implement artificial intelligence resulting in efficiency improvements in organisations.

Infrastructure roles, particularly in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland are set to also experience double digit growth thanks to heavy state and federal investment in road and rail projects. 

"Senior civil engineer roles with experience in road and rail projects will be in particular demand as states will be battling against each other to entice and retain talent. As a result, some roles will experience 15% wage growth.” Mr Nicholson said. 

With the Royal Commission into the banking, superannuation and advice industries in full swing, specialist corporate governance, government relations and risk management positions will also be in huge demand. 

Australian businesses were criticised by the RBA late last year for promoting weak wage conditions, and the 2018 crystal ‘wage’ ball is not looking any better with Australian employers choosing to be more risk adverse and cost conscious. However, the stronger economic indicators at the back-end of 2017 could mean a shift in attitude. 

“Thanks to the above predicted GDP growth coupled with the largest full-time job growth rate in the last 40 years – Australian businesses and their employees have the opportunity to be much more optimistic when it comes to wage growth conditions for 2018.” Mr Nicholson said. 

While immediate wage and bonus outlook is likely for in demand professionals, employers across the board should look at non-financial benefits to retain talent. 

“Many employers will seek to retain professionals by offering job flexibility, learning opportunities and other health and wellbeing benefits instead of increasing salaries.” Mr Nicholson said. 


About Robert Walters

Robert Walters is one of the world’s leading global recruitment consultancies, specialising in the placement of permanent, contract and temporary positions across all levels of seniority. Our teams of professional consultants are renowned for their professionalism, integrity and exceptional recruitment consultancy services. Using a flexible approach to recruitment, we are committed to matching client needs to candidate aspirations to create mutual benefit for both. Across Australia and New Zealand we have offices in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Chatswood, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington.


About the Salary Survey:

The Robert Walters Salary Survey is the most comprehensive overview of salaries and recruitment trends across Australia. The findings are based on the analysis of permanent, interim and contract placements made across each of our geographies and recruitment disciplines during 2017. First released in 2000, this is the nineteenth edition of the Robert Walters Salary Survey.