Jobseekers’ salary expectations higher compared to five years ago: Survey

After several years of slow wage growth, Robert Half research shows jobseekers’ salary expectations are rising. Read more here. 

  • 76% of Australian hiring managers say jobseekers are more demanding when it comes to their remuneration package compared to five years ago. 
  • 58% respectively say jobseekers expect higher base salaries and bonuses than what is being offered. 

After several years of slow wage growth, independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows jobseekers’ salary expectations are rising. According to the survey of 460 Australian hiring managers, three in four (76%) say jobseekers have become more demanding when it comes to their remuneration package compared to five years ago. 

Additionally, a survey of 1,000 Australian jobseekers, published in the newly-released 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide reveals 50% of respondents consider salary the most important factor to them when looking for a new job or accepting a job offer – a strong indication that financial rewards factor highly in a candidate’s decision-making process.

Which state is more demanding?
In a regional breakdown of the research, Queensland has the most demanding jobseekers in terms of salary, as 79% of hiring managers based in the Sunshine State say jobseekers have become more demanding when it comes to their remuneration package compared to five years ago. This is closely followed by Western Australia (77%), New South Wales (76%) and Victoria (72%). 

Remuneration: What do jobseekers want?
With the disparity between wage growth (2.3%) [1] and the rising cost of living – CPI (consumer price index) rising 1.8% over the twelve months to the December quarter 2018 [2] – it is not surprising many Australian workers have higher expectations on what they think they should be paid.

According to the survey, higher candidate expectations in terms of their remuneration package mainly revolve around financial incentives, as 58% of hiring managers respectively say candidates expect higher base salaries and bonuses than what is being offered as part of their compensation and benefits package. Other factors candidates expect to see included in their remuneration package include equity and/or profit sharing (44%), additional holiday or annual leave, and flexible work hours or the option to work from home (36%). 

Andrew Morris, Director of Robert Half Australia said: “Despite slow wage growth, the Australian economy continues on an upward trajectory with strong GDP expansion, company growth, jobs growth and falling unemployment. In these favourable market conditions, jobseekers' salary expectations generally rise, and when faced with a candidate-short market, companies should continuously be re-evaluating their remuneration policies to successfully attract and retain the best talent.”

“While it’s not always possible for companies to offer higher salaries, offering non-financial incentives can also be an effective method to attract, secure and keep the best employees. Flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, additional annual leave and working from home arrangements are just some of the incentives employers can offer to appeal to today’s workers.”

[1][email protected]/mf/6345.0

[2][email protected]/mf/6401.0


About the Robert Half Salary Guide
The 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration.

The Robert Half Salary Guide offers a comprehensive overview of the current salary ranges, and job and remuneration trends for finance and accounting professionals, finance professionals in the financial services sector, technology professionals and administrative professionals. The results and insights of the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide are based on comprehensive analyses, local job placements, local expertise and independent research of industry executives and office workers.

About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in June 2018 by an independent research firm, surveying 460 hiring managers from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

An additional anonymous survey was conducted in November-December 2018, surveying 1,000 office workers across Australia. The data has been collated and verified by MarketProbe, an independent research firm, with the results segmented by age, gender and geographic location. 


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]