Salary guide and survey | Design & Construct

Salary Survey

Design & Construct has created a comprehensive salary survey for people working in the building, construction, engineering and architecture industries throughout Australia.

Design and Construct is renowned for personalised service, professionalism and integrity.

Design & Construct have recently carried out extensive research into the expected salary expectations, shedding light on what workers in various industries should be earning in today’s economic climate.

Each year, the Department of Employment produces employment projections by industry, occupation and region over a five year period. Employment in Construction increased by 7.1 per cent over the past three years and is projected to grow by 8.3 per cent over the next five years.

Projected employment growth in construction by region to November 2019

  • New South Wales 14.6%
  • Victoria 12.4%
  • Queensland 11.4%
  • South Australia 8.3%
  • Western Australia 16.9%
  • Tasmania 8.5%
  • Northern Territory 18.6%

The construction industry expected growth is largely down to a combination of low interest rates, a strong Australian dollar and the demand for residential and commercial property.

Continued government investment in transport, education and health care has ensured activity levels will remain high in individual sectors such as, construction, engineering and architecture.

There is a strong demand for construction professionals throughout Australia in all disciplines and the employment report highlights the regions that may possibly present the widest range of employment opportunities.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported an increase in employment of 2.5% in November 2015 compared to the previous year, with around 293,000 more people in employment.

Securing the best salary

With the current high demand for skilled workers, securing a salary that meets individual expectations can sometimes prove to be a challenge. At Design and Construct our aim is to provide the best remuneration package based upon, relevant qualifications, skills and experience.

Our salary survey results provide real insight into current annual market salary expectations across the construction, engineering and architecture industries.

Salary Survey Results

Director | Executive Architect $160,000 - $220,000
Architect 5-10 Years $80,000 - $115,000
Architect 2-5 Years $50,000 - $80,000
Graduate Architect $40,000 - $50,000
Director | Executive Interior Design $150,000 - $210,000
Interior Designer 5-10 Years $70,000 - $120,000
Interior Designer 2-5 Years $50,000 - $70,000
Graduate Interior Design $40,000 - $50,000
CAD Drafter $40,000 - $85,000
Landscape Architect $50,000 - $110,000
Town / Urban Planner $50,000 - $160,000
Urban Designer $50,000 - $170,000


Group Manager / Principal $150,000 - $250,000
Associate $110,000 - $150,000
Client Project Manager 5-10 Years $95,000 - $250,000
Client Junior Project Manager 2-5 Years $75,000 - $95,000


Group Manager / Principal $110,000 - $155,000
Design Manager $85,000 - $130,000
Environmental Engineer $75,000 - $125,000
Geotechnical Engineer $65,000 - $125,000
Civil / Structural Engineer $65,000 - $125,000
Civil / Structural Drafter $65,000 - $95,000


Construction Manager $145,000 - $265,000
Project Manager $120,000 - $220,000
Estimator / Estimating Manager $75,000 - $250,000
OH&S / QA Manager $95,000 - $130,000
Contracts Administrator $70,000 - $120,000
Foreman / Supervisor $70,000 - $150,000
Project Engineer $75,000 - $125,000
Site Engineer $65,000 - $95,000
Leading Hand $65,000 - $80,000


Construction Manager $250,000 - $350,000
Contracts Manager $150,000 - $250,000
Design Manager $150,000 - $200,000
Project Manager $150,000 - $220,000
OH&S Manager $150,000 - $185,000
Estimator / Cost Planner $65,000 - $200,000
Contracts Administrator $80,000 - $150,000
Site Manager $130,000 - $180,000
General Foreman $130,000 - $150,000
Foreman $95,000 - $120,000
OH&S Coordinator $95,000 - $125,000
Leading Hand $75,000 - $95,000

Our survey reveals strong market conditions throughout most of Australia. Demand for senior managers and professionals continues to surge in construction, civil engineering and architecture thanks to a steady growth in the property, civil infrastructure and construction sectors.

Continued growth in 2016

The trend continues as predicted by the ABS and is confirmed by the latest figures in March 2016. Simply put, employment has increased by 26,100 to 11,909,600 and unemployment has decreased by 7,300 to 723,100.

Figures released by the Department of Employment project that skill levels will play a major part in the future of employees. Skill level 1 is projected to see the biggest growth in demand, which is good news for graduate recruitment.

2016 Skill Level Projections – five years to 2020

  • Skill Level 1 up by 13.0 %: Bachelor degree or higher qualification
  • Skill Level 2 up by 11.0%: Advanced Diploma or Diploma
  • Skill Level 3 up by a 4.2 %: Certificate IV or III (including at least 2 years on-the-job training)
  • Skill Level 4 up by 7.1%: Certificate II or III   
  • Skill Level 5 up by 3.4%: Certificate I or secondary education

2016 Occupational Projections – five years to 2020

Managers up by 9.2% including:

  • Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators
  • Chief Executives and Managing Directors
  • General Managers
  • Corporate Services Managers
  • Policy and Planning Managers
  • Business Administration Managers
  • Construction, Distribution and Production Managers
  • Construction Managers
  • Engineering Managers
  • Production Managers
  • Supply, Distribution and Procurement Managers

Professionals up by 14.5% including:

  • Architects, Designers, Planners and Surveyors
  • Architects and Landscape Architects
  • Surveyors and Spatial Scientists
  • Interior Designers
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Engineering Professionals
  • Chemical and Materials Engineers
  • Civil Engineering Professionals
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
  • Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals

Technicians & trade workers up by 5.5%

  • Building and Engineering Technicians
  • Architectural and Surveying Technicians
  • Civil & Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
  • Mechanical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
  • Safety Inspectors
  • Fabrication Engineering Trades Workers
  • Metal Casting, Forging and Finishing Trades Workers
  • Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
  • Precision Metal Trades Workers
  • Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers
  • Bricklayers, Carpenters and Joiners
  • Floor Finishers and Painting Trades Workers
  • Glaziers, Plasterers and Tilers
  • Plumbers, Electricians and Telecommunications Trades Workers
  • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
  • Wood Machinists and other Wood Trades Workers

40% of Australia’s workforce holds a tertiary qualification

A benchmark report by Austrade, The Australian Trade Commission provides data demonstrating why there is no better place than Australia to do business. The report examines five key reasons for investing in Australia: Growth, Innovation, Talent, Location and Business and then compares them to other countries.


  • The Australian labour force is one of the most educated, multicultural and multilingual in the world; 40% of its workforce holds a tertiary qualification.
  • Ranked ninth in the world for the talent of the people it produces, attracts and retains.
  • The country has experienced a sustained period of labour productivity growth, exceeding growth in terms of real wages.

Having a highly educated labour force, with a strong legal framework and political stability, has meant that the country has achieved 25 years of consecutive growth. Looking to the future, it is apparent that innovation, technology and a skilled workforce will be needed to ensure Australia achieves continued growth.

Looking to invest in Australia and need skilled workers to get your project off the ground? Contact Design & Construct, we have been trading for over 12 years, have an exemplary record for employment and business solutions and have offices in key locations throughout Australia.

Design & Construct attract and retain Australia’s talent

Design & Construct's client base includes international, national and regional main contractors, specialist sub-contractors, architectural practices, surveying practices and construction consultancies based throughout Australia. Understanding of the motivations of clients and candidates, our consultants are in the right position to match the expertise and skills of candidates to the needs of specific employers. They observe the highest standard of ethics, confidentiality and professional conduct and have experience recruiting candidates at all levels, from graduates through to board level directors.

Building, construction and architecture have also experienced solid employment growth over the past five years with almost 150,000 new jobs created. They currently employ about 845,000 people combined and expect employment growth to continue over the next five years, albeit at a slower rate.

In most states, civil and structural engineering professionals are in high demand, thanks largely to state government infrastructure upgrades and strong private sector transport investment.

This high demand for labour has meant good news for experienced candidates, with remuneration packages rising an additional 10% - 15% across most sectors in the past 12 months.

And, with the shortage of experienced candidates in the market, many companies have had to recruit nationally and internationally to fill some roles. So it is not uncommon for an experienced candidate to receive multiple offers of employment and counter-offers from their existing employers.

At Design & Construct, we look forward to helping you find the right opportunities and take your career to the next level. Speak to one of our consultants today and they'll help find a job that's right for you.