macdonald and company
macdonald and company

How Much RICS Qualification is Worth in Asia

Posting date: 4 April 2019
William Glover our consultant managing the role

Benchmarking salary levels ensures you stay competitive

It follows that the more qualified an employee is, the greater their remuneration package should be. The question for both companies and professionals is, by how much? How much should a candidate ask for, and how much should a company pay to be competitive?

Salary is important, but so are bonuses

The latest RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey asked professionals in the real estate and built environment in Asia to state how a list of factors affecting:

  • How valued they feel in their current roles
  • Dissatisfaction in current roles
  • Professionals and how to improve their productivity
  • What professionals look for when moving to a new job
Topping the list in each category are salary and bonuses. Employees who don’t receive an annual salary review and those who receive a lower-than-expected bonus are more likely to feel undervalued and more likely to be dissatisfied at work – both are motivators for seeking a new role elsewhere. Professionals also say that salary and bonuses are key to motivating better productivity at work.

If you want to hire great employees, retain their services and get the best performance from them, it’s clear that you need to reward them with a suitable remuneration package – and this includes a competitive salary and bonuses that show efforts and results are recognised.
To be competitive, you must have accurate measures the RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey provides a benchmark for the industry and in each sector and specialisation.

By collating the information from a wide and diverse group of professionals, from across the entire industry and across Asia, the survey produces highly accurate measures of salaries, bonuses, other elements of remuneration, and attitudes in the industry.

What salaries are paid in the real estate and built environment in Asia?

Median salaries have increased across the industry. Those who received a pay rise in the 12 months under review in the survey saw their pay increase by an average of 7.5%. Each sector saw median base salaries rise during 2018, despite a slowing world economy, global geopolitical concerns, and Trump’s trade wars. By sector, base median salaries increased as shown in the following table:

Industry % Change from Previous Year Annual Base Salary

  • Architecture % design 5.7% $47,064
  • Banks 6.6% $81,180
  • Construction 7.7% $57,732
  • Developer 6.3% $75,180
  • Investor/Fund/REIT 9.9% $90,000
  • Occupier 7.4% $96,000
  • Service Provider/Consultancy 9.1% $66,030

Age and experience drive salary increases

As you might expect, both age and experience help to determine the salaries that professionals receive in the industry. Annual base salaries rise with age, and they rise with experience (the two, of course, are linked), as do bonuses, and other factors of remuneration (such as LTIP).
New entrants to the industry (with less than two years of experience) earn a median base salary of $8,250. Including a median bonus of $1,950, an employee with less than two years of experience receives total median remuneration of $10,435.

Those with between two and four years of experience see the median salary rise to $35,520. With a median bonus of almost twice that of those with less than two years of experience, and a small LTIP payment, the total median remuneration in this age group is $39,680. By the time a professional has amassed between 21 and 30 years of experience, the median remuneration rises to a total of $185,967, with a median salary of $99,817. With more than 30 years of experience, the median salary rises to $125,800. Experience costs, but it is a payment worth making for the success it contributes to an organisation.

Age and experience: Outgunned by RICS qualification?

Of course, much of the increase in salaries through the range of experience is due to gaining qualifications. So, it pays to understand the effect that qualifications have on salaries and total remunerations. We can do this by examining the median salaries for a range of RICS qualifications versus non-professionally qualified.

At the early career stage, RICS (part-qualified) you might expect a lower salary and remuneration than for non-professionally qualified employees – because the effect of experience outweighs part-qualified or newly qualified status. This proves to be the case, but perhaps by less than you might think. While experience (and therefore age) is rewarded with higher bonuses and LTIP, the difference in median salaries is less marked at both part-qualified and AssocRICS status: 

  • RICS (part-qualified), median salary is $46,830
  • AssocRICS, median salary is $51,392
  • Non-professionally qualified employees receive a median salary of $56,800

However, at MRICS level, the median salary is $78,072 – put another way, around 38% higher than non-professionally qualified employees. For FRICS professionals, the median salary almost doubles, to $150,960.

RICS qualification: is it just about the money?

The evidence proves that RICS qualifications lead to higher pay, on average 38% higher than non-professionally qualified peers for MRICS employees. However, the survey shows that this is not the only way in which professionals believe the RICS benefits them. Employees, and their companies, benefit from other advantages of RICS qualifications. These include professional accreditation and working to international standards. As a benchmark qualification recognised around the world, RICS qualification also acts as a global work passport, and membership provides increased work opportunities.

Interestingly, the respondents to the survey place all these advantages above salary when asked about the benefits of RICS membership.

The bottom line - RICS Membership Pays 

The RICS qualification and membership is certainly reflected by higher salaries and remuneration, though professionals realise the many other benefits of qualification, too. When making hiring decisions, companies would be wise to ensure that the salary they offer is commensurate with the age, experience and qualification of the candidate. The best candidates will always shine, with their dedication to producing good work confirmed by their professional qualifications.

As specialist recruiters, it is our job to make sure that our clients reach out to the very best candidates, and that our candidates are partnered with suitable and rewarding career opportunities. To find out more about the RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey, and the salary levels that will ensure remuneration offered is competitive to specific roles, contact Macdonald & Company today.

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