Whether you are already working in construction claims and disputes or wanting to make the move into construction claims and disputes, I am sure that knowing what similarly qualified professionals are earning will be of interest to you.
I have therefore collated the last 18 months of data relating to candidates working in the claims and disputes sector as part of a salary benchmarking exercise focused purely on this specialist area of the construction industry.
Below, I present salary information for claims and disputes staff in the UK across the 5 most common levels of seniority.
The figure provided is based on Basic Salary and Car / Travel Allowance provided as part of a package, but excludes bonuses (whether performance based, discretionary or ‘guaranteed’).
This information relates purely to staff employed on a permanent PAYE basis and does not include freelance or contract staff remuneration or pay rates.
Salary Guide for Construction Claims and Dispute Professionals in UK Permanent Employment:
A Guide to the Different Job Titles & Levels of Seniority:
Not all construction claims and dispute employers have the same job title hierarchy as I use above, so I will briefly explain the level of experience required for each role, to allow the best match to your skills and experience to be made to the relevant job title and job salary band.
The Consultant / Analyst Level Construction Claims and Dispute Job:
This is the most junior level role within the sector. These roles can be quite rare for recruiters such as myself to work on, as candidates usually have minimal previous experience in the construction industry; possibly no experience in construction at all and may have come from a completely different sector with strong transferrable skills, such as law or accountancy. Most commonly, these will be candidates with circa 2-4 years of experience in a technical professional role such as engineering, quantity surveying, planning or project management.
The Senior Consultant Level Construction Claims and Dispute Job:
This is by far the most common entry level role into construction claims and disputes. Most candidates hired at this level will have no previous experience working for a claims and disputes consultancy. Instead, candidates are more likely to come from a contractor or general QS / Quantity Surveying or Project Management consultancy background.
This level of role typically suits candidates who have had sufficient experience within their role as a Quantity Surveyor, Planner, Engineer or Project Manager to understand and carry out their role with minimal to no direct supervision. Often, they will have had some exposure to claims and / or disputes which is where they develop a passion for construction claims and disputes work and want to specialise in it as their construction industry career progresses.
It is common to see candidates at this level studying for higher education such as Masters Degrees in Construction Law, and / or working towards relevant charterships to professional bodies such as the RICS, CIOB, ICES and similar equivalents.
For many clients in the expert witness sector, chartership to a relevant professional body is seen as an essential requirement for candidates at this level. Claims consultancies are often slightly more relaxed in their requirements, however Chartered status is very much seen as an advantage.
The Managing Consultant Level Construction Claims and Dispute Job:
The Managing Consultant role is typically associated with candidates that have worked in a specialist claims or dispute role previously. It is very rare for candidates coming from a main contractor or traditional PQS or Quantity Surveying background to be offered a role at this level. The exception to this may be when a candidate gains a large amount of experience in formal dispute work (adjudication / arbitration / litigation) within their role for a main contractor.
More commonly, the Managing Consultant job is a role for candidates that have several years of experience in a specialist claims and disputes role. Not all consultancies have a role at this level, and where they don’t, the progression will go directly from Senior Consultant to Associate Director.
The Associate Director Level Construction Claims and Dispute Job:
This is very much a managerial job role. In claims, you will be expected to be capable of running your own assignments and disputes (likely adjudications) at this level. Candidates will almost certainly have worked for a similar claims and disputes consultancy at this level and it will likely be for a substantial period of time (Circa 5 years+).
With an expert witness consultancy, an Associate Director would again be a candidate with significant experience in disputes - likely to be arbitration and litigation, and will likely have acted in what is known as the ‘Lead Assistant’ role. This role stage is seen as a critical role in a candidate’s development in the disputes sector. You will have acted as the #2 to the testifying expert and acted in a go-between role between them and the team of consultants involved in the dispute. You will learn how to manage and set out a dispute from the lead expert and typically have day-to-day involvement with the consultants to ensure they are carrying out their work accurately and in a timely fashion. You will also be expected to carry out a very hands-on role in addition to your managerial duties.
At this level candidates are likely to get some exposure to business development responsibilities also.
The Director Level Construction Claims and Dispute Job:
At Director level you will have proven yourself for many years in the claims and disputes sector and will have developed a strong reputation in this specialist market.
Within a claims consultancy, you will be leaned on heavily for your expertise to carry out the most complex assignments in the business and you will be heavily involved and likely targeted with business development duties to bring in new clients and revenue to the business.
In an expert witness consultancy, you will be required to have acted and testified as the lead expert to be considered for such a role. If not, you will need be very close to this level. Suitable candidates will need to have all the required skills to testify, and you will be waiting for your first appointment. Business development will also be a large part of your role and businesses will be expecting you to generate work for yourself rather be provided work to undertake. Candidates at Director level will already have a strong network of professionals that are lawyers and solicitors that feed you work, in order to be considered for a Director level role.