Salary trends and expectations

Anna Roussos , 7 June 2024

As we approach the end of the financial year, employers and employees need to be cognisant of salary trends in an ever-evolving market. Anna Roussos, founder of Adelaide-based recruitment company ROUSSOS, discusses her observations of recent salary fluctuations within the architecture industry.

As the end of the 2023/2024 Financial Year draws near, performance reviews are on many employees’ minds. Reviews are often a segue into salary discussions, and it is important to understand that requesting a pay rise comes with caveats. You need to be across salary trends in your industry and how they compare with your current salary positioning. With these conversations looming, we feel it’s a great time to open dialogue around this topic.

The biggest series of changes we’ve found has been within the architecture industry. We had a deep dive into this sector post-COVID and looked at what we’ve determined to be a significant adjustment, with salaries tapering off noticeably. While senior architects were in high demand 18 months ago, our clients were much more willing to offer competitive salaries to secure top talent. Today, however, there’s a hesitation in offering anything beyond a $115,000–$125,000 package for these senior roles. Prior to the pandemic, salaries for project architects typically ranged between $85,000 and $100,000. Post-COVID we witnessed a surge up to $120,000 – $125,000, whereas now that the market has re-stabilised, many of our clients are offering a more reserved range between $100,000 and $110,000.

And this trend is certainly not isolated to the architecture sector. There’s a broad adjustment in salaries across the Tier 3 construction industry as well, with many businesses reassessing their compensation strategies to better align with current economic realities. Comparatively, and interestingly, the engineering sector continues to boom, with stability in higher level salary packages and competitive strategy. Salaries in property are increasing; however, this means the smaller businesses find it difficult to compete and attract big players in the market. There is plenty of opportunity in the property market, with the property boom growing consistently through ongoing demand and economic focus.

The recalibration of salaries highlights the need for both employers and employees to become adaptable in evolving market dynamics. For employers, it means balancing the need to attract and retain talent while managing costs effectively. For employees, it will often mean a reassessment of financial expectations in a changing economic environment.

As the industries we recruit in continue to adjust post-COVID, the emphasis is on finding sustainable balance in salary structures. Both clients and candidates now need to navigate these changes thoughtfully, ensuring parity between being competitive and realistic. Ultimately, the economic trends associated with salary packages are always an important focus when it comes to building symmetry between businesses and professionals in the long term.​

Anna Roussos is the Director and Founder of ROUSSOS Recruitment, which is a leader in the recruitment space for architecture in South Australia. ROUSSOS provides valuable advice and insight into navigating the architectural job market. ROUSSOS is also a valued supporter of the ACA SA.