CAD technicians enjoyed the biggest pay rises in the construction industry last year, according to a salary survey of more than 6000 positions by Hays Construction & Property

Rises in double figures were common for CAD technicians at all levels, but CAD managers in central London were the biggest winners, with average salaries up 21% to £35,000.

Experienced staff were in greatest demand – senior CAD technicians with eight years in the industry received pay rises of about 12% almost everywhere, earning £29,000 in London and about £27,000 outside.

Emma Anderson of Hays Construction & Property said that firms are paying a premium to employ well-paid contractors to permanent positions. “There’s a massive shortage of CAD technicians and a lot of them are in the contract market on hourly rates, so firms have to pay very high salaries to get them to go permanent.”

Contractors’ hourly rates are higher than salaries of equivalent permanent staff. Anderson says that £18-22 an hour is typical, but some contractors have asked for as much as £25.

Anderson said: “The contract market has become so expensive – you can pay double to have a contractor there for a year. Permanent prices have risen, but not as fast as contract rates.”

Andy Sparks, CAD manager at structural engineers Price & Myers, employs 15 CAD technicians, but lost five over a three-month period last year and is now looking for permanent staff. “You pay a premium to get people permanently – you have to match hourly rates or they’ll just go to another company.”

Other winners in Hays’ survey were QSs, who received increases of 7-9%. Rises were steepest outside London, with some salaries in the regions nearly reaching London levels, as regeneration schemes in the North and Midlands increased demand.

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