Demand for construction and engineering professionals in the post-recession era has pushed pay levels up 10% since 2008, says a new compensation survey by construction consultant FMI Corp. While pay rose for a number of jobs, firms' need for new business gave marketing managers the steepest hike.
"The industry is focusing on levers of growth and efficiency that were neglected in the past," says survey author and FMI consultant Mike Rose. He says that in the analysis, released last month, of some 75,000 job records, new-business acquisition complexities are requiring higher-skilled and better-paid contractor staff. Technology needs also caused a 30% base-pay bump for BIM professionals.
Among design-firm jobs, FMI says field engineers gained the largest base-pay hike since 2009, at 24.1%. Those in quality assurance and proposal management were next, at 23.5% and 19.3%, respectively. FMI points to a new emphasis on positions with specialized expertise.
Jobs with the slowest pay growth included project managers, project engineers and general foremen.
Says FMI, "Commoditization of construction is forcing the industry to revise go-to- market strategies and channels for new business as well as the talent pool." But FMI says more recent demand for project superintendents has boosted that group's compensation since 2011.
Payment of bonuses also has experienced ups and downs since the recession, says the survey. It notes a "precipitous" fall in bonuses as a percent of base salary for most construction professionals since 2010, with some modest recovery in the past year.
FMI links the trend to many firms using discretionary bonuses, which are more vulnerable to falling profits than structured bonuses that are tied to prescribed targets.