Energy salaries to increase amid skills shortage

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More energy professionals will receive a pay rise this coming financial year than last, with the skills shortage creating a “once-in-a-career market”, according to recruiting experts Hays Energy.

The FY22-23 Hays Salary Guide found 82 per cent of energy employers would increase salaries in their next review, up from 65 per cent last year. 

Related article: Expecting a payrise this year? It may be less than you hope for

Of these, 45 per cent intend to raise salaries by over three per cent, while 37 per cent will increase salaries by less than three per cent. 

According to Hays Energy, 55 per cent of employers say the skills shortage has forced them to offer higher salaries than otherwise planned.

For their part, 79 per cent of the skilled professionals Hays also spoke to say their performance and the demand for their skills merits an increase greater than three per cent. 

Over half (58 per cent) say the skills shortage has made them more confident to ask for a pay rise and 50 per cent have already benefited from the skills shortage through a salary increase, new job or both. 

Despite this, only 29 per cent are satisfied with their current salary. Meanwhile, an uncompetitive salary is the top factor motivating 56 per cent of job searches. It ranks ahead of the current temporary nature of an assignment and a lack of promotional opportunities and new challenges.

“Intense competition for skilled professionals will translate into gradual salary increases this coming financial year,” Hays Energy regional director Austin Blackburne said. 

“Moving away from the salary stability stance of recent years, employers say the skills shortage is the reason increases are higher than planned. Already 67 per cent say the skills shortage will impact the effective operation or growth plans of their organisation. 

“This is fuelling a once-in-a-career market. Previously camouflaged by skilled migration, and further impacted by headcount growth, skills shortages have reached a level unmatched in our years in recruitment and sparked deliberate salary increases from employers.

“However, while both the value and extent of salary increases is rising, employees’ expectations are growing faster. In a job-rich, candidate-poor market, they feel more assured of their worth and have prioritised a pay rise. 

“In such a market, the number one question we’re asked by employers is how to stand out as their preferred candidate’s first choice.”

Hays’s answer is a “new equation” for employers to follow. As Austin explains, “We suggest that today’s skills shortage presents an opportunity to define a new equation in the world of work. Salary increase budgets only extend so far, so consider the full value exchange for each role. Along with salary, consider benefits, upskilling, career progression, purpose, and the relationship employers have with their employees.” 

In other key findings, the Hays Salary Guide found:

The top five skills in demand in energy

  1. Electrical Design Engineers
  2. Project Managers
  3. Construction Managers
  4. Project Developers
  5. Commissioning Engineers

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Benefits help attract candidates: The top three benefits sought by energy professionals are ongoing learning and development, training (either internal or external) and over 20 days’ annual leave.

Hiring intentions rise: 33 per cent of energy employers intend to increase staff levels in FY22/23.

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