Tags: Recruitment Advice, industry insights, hot-topics...

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and economic activity return to normal, the demand for permanent and temporary staff is on the rise and evidently, so are salaries. According to KPMG, job starting salaries have reached a record high in 2021 based on 24 years of data collection. 

With candidates reluctant to move jobs due to uncertainties over job security since the pandemic and a decline in European workers due to Brexit, employers are in desperate need to find candidates and willing to offer higher starting salaries.

Industries most likely to increase starter salaries

 So, which industries are most likely to increase starter salaries? We have collated findings from our 2021 Salary & Benefits Guide, which surveyed thousands of companies and candidates. 


As work recommenced and sites reopened, the construction industry has seen rapid growth. Associate Director of Search Construction & Civil Engineering team Adam Brown discusses the need for new talent within the industry: "Salaries have increased 5-10% over the past few months. As companies look to attract new candidates and new talent pools, they’re having to pay more than their competitors are paying to introduce them.”

In 2021, construction salaries are set to increase by 55%, with the following roles most likely to see a rise in starting salaries: Site Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Site Engineers.

Engineering & Manufacturing

While COVID-19 undoubtedly impacted engineering & manufacturing, Brexit further affected the sector with 48% of managers saying they will lose a percentage of their EU workforce. Businesses are having to offer higher starter salaries to entice talent into the industry. 

Overall 91% of respondents in this sector said salaries are due to increase in 2021, whilst only 9% are due to maintain the same. The roles most likely to see a rise in starter salaries include: Software Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer and Project Manager.

Transport & Logistics

You are likely to have heard of a national shortage of HGV Drivers publicised recently. This skills gap, combined with an increased dependence on drivers throughout the pandemic, leaves businesses looking to attract new talent at a pace.

Overall, we have seen a 29% increase in salaries in 2021. The roles most in-demand and therefore likely to see a rise in starting salaries include: Class 1 Driver, Class 2 Driver, Class 1 ADR & PDP Driver.

Financial Services

The addition of government initiatives spiked applications for loans, mortgages, underwriting and risk management requests. Alongside, the navigation to an almost cashless society presented new challenges to the sector and drove demand for financial services professionals.

So far, there has been a 50% rise in salaries in 2021 with the most in-demand roles being: Compliance Manager, Financial Planning Manager and Analyst.


2020 was a unique year for the legal sector as the global pandemic increased the workload for many law firms across various legal areas. Including corporate, employment and real estate, which were buoyant sectors due to restructurings, redundancies, furlough arrangements and office changes.

Overall, salaries are set to rise by 50% within the sector by the end of the year and starting salaries for the following roles are likely to increase: In-house counsel, Corporate Lawyer, and Employment Lawyer.

As confidence increases across the job market and starting salaries are seemingly on the rise, now could be a great time to start thinking about your next career move; particularly, if you are working within any of the above industries.

At Search Consultancy, we have specialist consultants across twenty sectors with exclusive insight into the current salaries on offer. If you are looking for advice on available opportunities within your sector, please contact us today to discuss your requirements.