Salary slowdown causes ‘tug of war’

Over half (57 per cent) of retail professionals will prioritise receiving a pay rise this year, though it will be a less significant increase than they perhaps hope for, according to the Hays Salary Guide for 2019-20.

While 69 per cent of retail and FMCG professionals are expected to increase their salary this year, the Hays survey reveals this increase will likely amount to 3 per cent or less.

A further 22 per cent of respondents expect no increase whatsoever.

“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll, and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” Hays Retail regional director David Cawley said.

“One the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they plan to curtail salary increases.”

According to the report, 41 per cent of retail professionals are in the market for a new position due to what they deem as an “uncompetitive salary”, further influencing retails skills shortage. Additionally, only 47 per cent of retailers are intending on increasing permanent staff levels over the coming year – focusing instead on skilling up staff they already pay.

“Given that skill shortages exist in store management, retail employers are investing in the training and development of staff, which is creating opportunities,” Cawley said.

“This trend ensures that the future is promising for entry-level retail candidates seeking a career in the industry.”



  1. Mark S posted on May 27, 2019

    On the very day you published this, the subscriber edition quotes the head of the Aust Retail Association celebrating the return of the Coalition, saying the maintenance of the (lower) penalty rate regime returns certainty and stability to retail. So now we read that at the same time 57 per cent of retail professionals (ie managers and administrators) will prioritise receiving a pay rise this year and 41 per cent are in the market for a new position due to what they deem as an “uncompetitive salary”. Isn’t this an example of trickle up in action?

  2. Dean Blake posted on May 27, 2019

    It certainly could be, though the managers and administrators seeking a pay rise are generally not the ones who would have benefited from the return of a higher penalty rate. As far as Hays research suggests, taken with the ARA’s comments, both low and medium income earners in retail are seeing some form of wage stagnation. This may be desirable if it led to more employment, but there isn’t much to suggest that’s the case either.

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