Compensation and recruiting challenges continue for global construction sector firms, with bigger raises in 2019 compared to the last several years and a growing focus on gender parity in compensation, according to a survey of more than 200 companies.

In its latest analysis of compensation and recruitment, financial consultant EFCG found salaries up closer to 4% this year, “noticeably higher than the 2.5% to 3% recorded consistently for the prior five years,” says Ted Lower, CEO of the LVNV Group, who heads EFCG’s human resources practice. He notes “impacts of more firms conducting gender-parity salary reviews, or having them scheduled for 2019.”

Respondents report overall corporate turnover up nearly 4% from last year’s EFCG survey, with turnover for female employees up 3.5% and up 1.6% for people of color.

Assignment issues were cited as the leading cause, of turnover, followed by management concerns and then training and development shortfalls. Some 86% of respondents offer sign-on bonuses to program and project managers. 

Lower says “the most striking finding was the emphasis on additional time flexibility for employees.” He notes a stronger focus on paid time off programs, “and a very clear trend to make each day as flexible as possible,” extending to work hours and locations, and parental time off. 

Leo Argiris, chief operating officer of Arup’s Americas region, told attendees at EFCG’s May 16 industry human resource managers conference that the design firm had 23,000 job applicants and annually hires about 130 new graduates. He said women made up 44% of new hires across entry-level and senior staff and that gender-parity in pay is at 97%.

Shelie Gustafson, vice president and chief human resources officer at Jacobs, told attendees that the firm has an “inclusion council,” with all managers at the senior vice president level and up required to have diversity and inclusion as a corporate goal tied to compensation. The firm also launched a “mental health initiative” to focus more corporate attention on employee risk factors and internal company responses.