Salaries for construction professionals have fallen across the board with site agents suffering drops of 14% over the last year

Salaries for employees have plummeted across the vast majority of roles, new research exclusive to Building has revealed.

Contractors’ quantity surveyors at all levels have seen the greatest fall in salaries over the last 12 months, with senior quantity surveyors’ earnings falling by nearly 5% and assistant quantity surveyors dropping by almost 8%.

Foremen and site agents have been the hardest hit of all contractors’ disciplines. Salaries for general foremen have dipped by 6%, and site agents have suffered salary decreases of nearly 14% on average, the research by Hays Construction found.

The salary falls recorded, which were based on new appointments, reflect the continuing tough conditions in the construction industry.

New orders in the industry fell in the second quarter of this year by 14%, from 13,482 in the first quarter to 11,606 in Q2. They also fell 9% when compared to the same period in 2009, when a total of 12,714 orders were recorded, according to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, released earlier this month.

Andrew Bredin, managing director at Hays Construction, said there was a silver lining: “Despite being one of the sectors hardest hit by the recent economic downturn and an overall drop in salaries across all disciplines, demand for experienced professionals within the construction sector has continued over the last few years.”

He added that employers were in a “fortunate position whereby they have been able to effectively cherry-pick the candidates they want, but only for certain roles.”

The full results of the survey will appear tomorrow in Building magazine and on