What Salary Should You Be Earning At Your Age?

We all like to know that we’re on track earning to our maximum potential, but is there a particular salary you should be earning at your age? Here James Mowat provides some input into salary levels vs. age.

What Salary Should You Be Earning At Your Age?

In my experience many people think that they should be earning more! Often building services candidates are surprised to learn that their current salary is quite competitive and realistically they can’t expect a significant hike by moving to a new role.

Salaries are determined by a number of factors such as your experience, qualifications, level of seniority and responsibility, location, and the market. Often it’s the market that overrules many of the other factors – if companies are finding it difficult to recruit candidates with the right expertise, salaries go up. If there are plenty of candidates on the market, salaries tend to stagnate.

Generally we see that graduate salaries remain fairly static as every year a new cohort comes onto the job market. Although in some areas there may be high demand for graduates with specific degrees, in most cases employers don’t have to compete for graduates at this level. Instead it’s the people with 5-6 years experience that are in high demand (because there are less of them on the job market) and that’s where we might see a spike in salaries as companies try to attract a limited pool of talent to their more experienced roles.

After this we generally see a more steady increase in salaries as employees gain more experience and seniority. At this point there may be opportunities to move from one employer to another to get a step up the career ladder and a boost to your salary. However, many companies offer good progression and pay the market rate, moreover you could be also getting a performance related pay rise or simply an incremental annual rise of 3-5% p/a, pushing your salary slightly higher. When assessing whether you’re being paid the right amount in your current job, these factors should also be taken into account.

In light of this, it’s not surprising that salary is not the most important motivating factor for many candidates. New challenges and opportunities, bigger and more complex projects, different / better culture, change of location or desire to work overseas, are often the factors listed by our building services candidates. Of course a good compensation package is part of the equation, but talented employees don’t change jobs just for more money.

Median UK Wages At Different Ages

Still, if you’re reading this blog post you’ll be interested to know what other people of your age are earning. The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings provides us with the median UK wages by age group, here are the provisional figures for 2017:

How does your salary compare?

As we can see from the graph above, once you hit your 30s if you’re a women, or 40s for men, with 15-20 years of experience under your belt you’re at the height of your earning potential.

That doesn’t mean you can’t earn more. There may be scope to move into more senior management positions or gain more qualifications and command a higher salary.

Of course, these figures include a very diverse range of jobs and expertise. Some will be non-skilled, whereas other jobs like those in Building Services can be highly skilled and therefore salaries are that much higher. Building services salaries increased by 3.5% according to research carried out on behalf of CIBSE.

The national average salary for a Director (consulting) is £61,125 (although the average salary in London for this position is £90,000). Associates might expect £52,750; Intermediate Design Engineers (M&E) are paid on average £32,875 p/a; Senior Design Engineers average £45,500 p/a; Professional Quantity Surveyors (consulting) £45,083 p/a etc. etc. If you want to find out what the market rate is for a building services role in your location, give me a call.

How To Increase Your Salary

If you want to increase your salary, here are 5 ways to do it:

  1. Keep on top of CPD, training and gain new qualifications – identify the skills and expertise that employers need and are prepared to pay well for and get yourself trained up and qualified.
  2. Become a specialist – provided there is sufficient demand for a specialisation and a shortage of professionals with the relevant skills, this can be an excellent way to boost your salary. Look for gaps in the market (factoring in your location and willingness to travel), and get the necessary qualifications and experience to fill a skills shortage.
  3. Negotiate a raise – research the market rate for your role and if you’re not getting paid as well as your peers, negotiate a raise. Make sure you can justify it with evidence of your achievements, the value you add to the company, and experience.
  4. Ask for promotion – let your line manager / boss know that you’re interested in furthering your career and would like the opportunity of promotion. If you don’t ask you might be overlooked, so be clear that you would like to have this conversation if the opportunity arises.
  5. Move jobs – as mentioned before, most people looking for a new job are motivated by more factors than salary alone. However, if opportunities for promotion, pay rises, and more rewarding work are few and far between, you may need to move companies to get the salary and other benefits you want.

If you would like to have a chat about your career in Building Services, get in touch with our desk. We’d be happy to explore what you’re looking for in the short and long term and discuss how we might be able to help. Call +44 (0) 1252 413080 or [email protected]

Building services engineering jobs can be found here.

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