BIM Salary Guide: Q3 update : the ARCHITECTURE edition
Firstly, context. A brief perspective of what is happening in the construction industry as a whole:
Global construction industry overview:
GlobalData has revised downwards its forecast for global construction output growth in 2019 to 2.7%, which will be the slowest pace of growth in a decade. Its central forecast is for global construction output growth to edge up to 3.2% in 2020 and then to stabilise at 3.4% over the remainder of the forecast period, which runs to 2023.
UK construction industry overview:
Predictions for the future are not looking positive according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS release due to the Brexit uncertainty, with September’s construction sector results having ‘the second fastest fall in new orders since March 2009 and the financial crisis’.
The Construction Products Association (CPA) has also downgraded its forecast for construction output growth in 2020 to 0.5%. They have also become more pessimistic about 2021 with output forecasts dropping from 1.4% growth to 0.9%.
The RIBA Future Trends Survey also makes for some gloomy reading.
However, looking forward, and contradicting the CPA’s pessimism, the PMI is estimated to trend around 53.60 in 2020. According to their ‘econometric models’!
BIM careers perspective:
Many thanks again to our brethren at JohnsonBIM for this information – this is real world data compiled by the people who live, breathe, eat and sleep BIM recruitment. Not disinterested researchers paid to do a quick survey with a fancy marketing team.
Click here for the latest ‘Architecture’ salary guide for BIM specialists in the UK.
We’ve seen a continued trend of uncertainty across the construction space – leading to a lack of new business wins for design consultancies and the wider supply chain. This conservative approach from developers has forced these teams to focus on delivery-based professionals able to lead the successful implementation of BIM at project level and capitalise on efficiencies of existing BIM strategies.
Having in depth conversations with both active and passive candidates, the drive to secure future-proofed opportunities with teams truly committed to digital transformation is continuing at a steady rate. More often than not, traditional workflows and a lack of buy-in at management level are causing BIM professionals with high expectations to take a more thorough approach to vetting opportunities. This alignment with our views and process means more effective conversations and applications rather than many following a scattergun approach.
So far salaries have stayed around the same levels over the past 18 months, with the imbalance of supply and demand meaning these skillsets are still sought after.
The majority of the demand is for both junior and intermediate, project-based BIM talent;
The majority of supply is continuing to upskill and looking for better commitment from businesses;
Businesses utilising lean processes and modular construction methodologies continue to grow
Realistic expectations and focusing on future-proofed opportunities is key.
And now, the detail:
The development of new firmwide roles has continued to slow across the industry, some have even been released to pursue new opportunities after developing capable teams. With the continuing focus on upskilling, training capabilities are still sought after, but those firms are holding onto their leaders to retain stability in their digital teams.
BIM Manager roles:
Teams delivering the most iconic projects across the UK are continuing to seek experienced BIM Project Managers to provide clients with a safe pair of hands and drive continued awareness of project potential and team leadership tasks. Those enlightened teams that understand this need are paying the right salaries. However there are still a number of teams missing out on top talent due to pulling the purse strings too tight.
BIM Coordinator roles:
Experienced and on-the-way-up BIM Coordinators are still in constant demand, having the capability to contribute at a delivery level, as well as taking responsibility for model quality and output, proving the most sought out combination.
BIM Technician / Assistant roles:
A constant need for junior talent skilled in the baseline BIM tools in evident, with most firms seeing this as an opportunity to diversify teams and provide scope to pass on knowledge to the brightest upcoming staff.
FUTURE GAZING: Where might the best opportunities be:
Although construction activity growth in Western Europe is forecast to decelerate in 2020, according to GlobalData, there are pockets of growth forecast in the UK:
Warehouse work to rise by 20% in 2020
The outlook remains good for warehouse construction, forecast to increase by 20% in 2020. Owing to the development of automated warehouses by online retailers which use higher-tech operations in logistics, the scale and value of projects have increased.
Infrastructure work to rise by 3.7% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021
Despite delays on major projects, there are pockets of growth in infrastructure, with offshore wind projects underway or starting soon worth over £1 billion in value. Combined with a fall in the strike price government pays for wind-generated energy to around a third cheaper than energy generated at Hinkley Point C, there’s further reason for optimism within offshore wind and an indication that renewable energy is gaining a competitive market edge.
Public housing starts are forecast to rise by 2.0% in 2020
The public housing sector’s prospects are more positive due to grant funding on the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, although there are signs of vulnerability as housing association development is increasingly linked to the slowdown in the general housing market.
And, for the travellers amongst us:
Again, thanks to GlobalData:
In India, positive developments in economic conditions, improvement in investor confidence and investments in transport infrastructure, energy and housing projects have helped the construction industry regain growth momentum.
The pace of growth in sub-Saharan Africa will be particularly strong. Ethiopia will be Africa’s star performer with steady acceleration in Nigeria.
In China, where the authorities are stepping up investment in infrastructure to prevent a continued slowdown, growth will remain positive, contributing to a slight acceleration in growth in total output in the emerging markets.
Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have suffered from weakness in oil prices in recent years and government revenues have been greatly reduced. Assuming oil prices stay relatively high, large-scale investment in infrastructure projects – mostly related to transport – will be a key driving force behind the growth in the region. However, the construction booms in a number of markets, notably Qatar, appear to have run their course.
But, avoid Australia! Their construction industry has plummeted, and GlobalData now expects a 6.3% fall in 2019, in line with the sharp contraction in buildings work and a slower than expected rebound in infrastructure.
CONCLUSIONS for the career centric from Mike Johnson
‘The next year is going to be tough for the construction industry. Hopefully, a new government will start to generate stability, confidence and investment into the construction industry but until that happens make sure you are careful. Do not move for the sake of money, there are too many armwavers out there and it is not likely to be a good career move.
If you have to change jobs this is my advice:
1: Focus on your career. Scratch below the surface and find out if companies really are genuinely committed to digitalisation. Do they just need a token BIM person to win work or are they going to invest in the future – and you? Ask them what good looks like in 5 years and what your part in that journey will be. Why not? It’s your career!
2: Look at the data. If you have the luxury of being unfettered and can travel, explore BIM opportunities in India, Africa, China and the Gulf – but make sure the experience will be valid and useful in your next job! If you can’t travel, look at the projects companies specialise in. Warehousing and infrastructure may not be sexy but they look safe for the short / medium term and some of the best, BIM committed companies are in these sectors and have good career opportunities.
3: If you’re not sure, ask an expert. If you get lost on a journey do you keep going around in circles or do you ask for direction? JohnsonBIM is as good a TomTom® for BIM as you will find.’