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Are you in line for a pay rise this year?

Colleagues discussing 2021 pay rise

Our newly released Hays Salary Guide FY21/22 shows that small salary increments are on the horizon for many skilled professionals this year, but not all Australians will receive equal salary rewards. 

This year, our salary guide paints a picture of a widening salary expectation gap between employers and employees.

On the one hand, you’re more likely to receive a pay rise in your next review compared to your last. According to the employers we spoke to, while 45% increased salaries during their last review period, 67% plan to award pay increases to their staff in the year ahead.  

But on the other hand, the value of your pay increase in 2021 is likely to be minimal. This year, employer expectations show just 12% of Australian organisations will award pay increases of 3% or more. Instead, 55% say they will raise salaries by up to 3%. 

Yet employee expectations differ, with 26% expecting a raise at this level. Furthermore, a significant 67% believe a pay increase of 3% or more would reflect their individual performance. That’s a significant salary expectation gap. So, while we will see an uptick in salaries, the value of those increases will be far less significant than many professionals hoped for.

Who is most likely to receive a pay raise this year? 

  • Not all Australians will receive equal rewards. When we look at pay increase intentions by industry or sector, there are clear differences.
  • The legal sector tops the list for the greatest salary increases in 2021. Almost three-quarters (73%) of legal employers will award a pay rise, with 31% intending to award 3% or more.
  • This is followed by the architecture industry, where 20% of employers will increase salaries by 3% or more. 
  • Increases of 3% and above will also be notable in the technology industry (19%) and both accountancy & finance and sales (17%). 

Will I receive a pay rise in 2021? 

To see if your skills should be in line for a salary increase this year, take a look at our online Salary Checker to view the highest, typical and lowest salaries for your job. 

How to bridge the salary expectation divide

Many employees went above and beyond to help their organisation through the pandemic crisis and back to growth. After a year of salary stagnation, it’s understandable that they now want to be rewarded for their efforts. 

However, budgets remain tight. So, if your salary increase fails to live up to expectations, consider what you could ask for instead. Perhaps upskilling, a promotional pathway or additional flexibility, for instance, could bridge the divide? You may also be interested in our advice on how to ask for a pay rise.

If all else fails, consider your options 

Of the skilled professionals we spoke to, a significant percentage (38%) are looking or planning to look for a new job this financial year. Another 39% are open to opportunities. For a significant percentage, an uncompetitive salary has motivated their job search.  

These professionals have also taken steps to make themselves strong candidates to improve their job search prospects. Over the past year, almost half (46%) developed their soft skills, while 45% advanced their technical skills. Meanwhile, 21% undertook higher or additional qualifications. 

If you do plan to advance your skills before exploring your options in the jobs market, don’t forget to also develop your digital proficiency. Most jobs now require a high level of digital literacy. Employers value candidates who can leverage new technology to work more effectively and efficiently. Data analysis skills are also increasingly valued across job functions. As a result, advancing your digital skills can provide a competitive advantage in the jobs market today.  

Is it time for a new job? 

Australia has weathered the COVID-19 storm better than anticipated, with 63% of employers telling us they’ve already returned to growth or rapid growth. 72% say business activity will increase over the next 12 months.
   
Job opportunities will continue to be offered, too. Almost one-half (47%) of employers say they intend to increase permanent staff levels in the next 12 months. 

In some instances and industries, demand for skills to fuel growth has never been higher. Therefore, for some professionals, the time may be just right to consider an external move to hyper-drive your progression and salary increase. 

The best place to start is to share or update your CV, so we can bring these opportunities to you directly. 

Download the Hays Salary Guide

Our annual Hays Salary Guide FY21/22  is based on a survey of close to 3,500 organisations and more than 3,800 skilled professionals. Download your copy to access typical salaries and insights relevant to your job and career path. 

About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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