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Salary Report 2015Q4: Construction Claims / Dispute in UK

QUICK SALARY FACTS

Typical Total Salary Package Earned by a Construction Claims or Dispute Professional in London:

  • Consultant in London: £30k - £45k p/a
  • Senior Consultant in London: £45k - £60k p/a
  • Managing Consultant in London: £60k - £75k p/a
  • Associate Partner / Director in London: £75k - £110k p/a
  • Partner / Director in London: £110k - £135k+ p/a

On Average How Much More Money Can be Earned in London Compared to other parts of the UK?

We are seeing relatively large salary uplifts for professionals working in London rather than outside of London, in the same seniority of role. For example – Senior Quantity Surveyors that are paid £38k - £43k in the north of England may easily be seen on £55k - £60k in London. This is mirrored in the dispute market of construction – we are seeing salary uplifts of 20-30% for a London based role.

Experience Range that is in Most Demand:

This is hard to say in the current market as I have seen opportunities at almost all levels, however the Senior – Managing Consultant level seems to be in most demand, at this middle management level. These professionals can complete work for the Directors or Partners of the business (Expert Witnesses) with less supervision, whilst being able to assist to a varied extent in writing the Expert Report. Quantity Surveyors, Senior Quantity Surveyors and Planners without dispute experience but with a clear motive, are also all high in demand. The Expert market is all about having a solid grounding of experience in your field so that you are transferrable.

Is Being Chartered Advantageous?

Yes, definitely. Or if you aren’t, you must be on track or have a clear motive to become so. As an Expert Witness, if you aren’t chartered, your argument for being an “Expert in your field” is instantly diminished. If you are someone who isn’t yet an Expert Witness, chartered status can by bypassed for those who are motivated enough and have the desire to complete their chartership within a reasonable time period.

Q&A

Q1 What are the factors affecting the salaries that can be secured in the United Kingdom for a Dispute Consultant?

  • Chartered status (explained above)
  • Commuting Cost – however, these companies still like their employees to be within a reasonable commute to ensure longevity of employment with them. Travel to office is not paid, however if there is a significant commuting cost to a new place of work if you change places of work, this can be mentioned at application stage.
  • Experience in this field – if you have experience in the dispute market already this will ensure you can attain a higher salary than those without (obviously!). It is less of a risk for a company to take you on board if they can see examples of work from previous employment.

Q2 Typically, how do bonus arrangements work?

Bonus arrangements in the dispute sector are tremendous! Bonuses are usually discretionary, however can be as high as 20-30% if you perform exceptionally well throughout the year. This is the case at most levels – you can change your basic salary from £45k to £55k, or from £80k to £96k-£100k with bonuses in this sector. Then there can be a company annual bonus on top of this as well, plus the usual benefits like private health and a pension scheme.

Q3 How are salaries in the dispute sector compared with those within other standard forms of construction services?

Salaries in this sector can overwhelm salaries in the standard construction sector – once you prove yourself and are promoted to the appropriate level. Once you have reached the Managing Consultant / Associate Director level, this is where the real difference is seen. An Associate Director for a Cost Consultancy can be seen anywhere up to £75k, whereas in the Expert Witness field, basic salaries can exceed this by a large amount, even over £100k in some cases. Then you have to take the bonus into account that as previously mentioned can be over 20% in some cases.

Q4 Does being bilingual improve earning power in this location?

Not really. As UK companies, purely UK speaking professionals are expected. These companies do work on international disputes as well as in the UK, however on these international projects there are many English speakers anyway so this doesn’t make a difference.

Q5 What type of previous experience and CV will get me the best salary offer?

A full, well rounded, start to finish project experience, combined with good longevity at a large player in a sizeable Main Contracting or Consultancy organisation, as a Quantity Surveyor or Planner. You will be well qualified, and be able to back up the experience mentioned with a clear motivation to specialize in disputes. Your CV should highlights the project value and the time spent on the project, and at what stage you were involved in the project. On site experience is also seen as positive, but not essential.

Q6 What factors will reduce my salary offer and employability?

 Lack of chartership/qualifications, reduced longevity, and no clear motive of why you want to move. You must have had solid grounding in your discipline as well.

Q7 Will proven management experience increase my salary and employability?

Not necessarily – it depends what level you are going in at. If you are at an Associate Director level with dispute experience – then yes, management experience will be seen as useful so you can take pressure of the Directors of a business and manage staff whilst working on disputes. If you are coming in at a Senior Consultant level without dispute experience, then you will not be able to manage staff in this sector to start with anyway. So even if you are a Commercial Manager and have managed Quantity Surveyors, this may be irrelevant for your entry role within an Expert Witness organization – hence, not much leverage to negotiate salary using this information. Negotiation will be stronger when talking about project experience when coming in to the dispute sector for the first time.

 

To discuss the possibility of working in London or anywhere in the UK in a construction claims or dispute role, please submit your CV here or send direct to adam@maximrecruitment.com with an overview of your preferences.

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