WORKERS employed in high-skill industries such as engineering and construction are receiving wages that are rising much faster than in low-skill industries, recruiting firm Hays has revealed.

According to the 2014 Hays Global Skills Index which surveyed 31 countries, Australia received a very high score of 8 for wage pressure in high-skill industries, showing that wages in high-skill industries outpace those in low-skill industries – a sure sign that employers in high-skill industries are competing for talent.

The high score also shows that those in low-skill industries are not seeing their wages rise as fast since there is less demand for their skills.

The Hays Global Skills Index, produced in collaboration with Oxford Economics, ranks Australia 17th on the list of 31 countries overall for efficiency of the skilled labour market. Belgium took out the top spot, while Australia’s neighbour, New Zealand came it at 4 number 10.

But a deeper dive into the findings showed Australia’s employers face a tight labour market for highly-skilled professionals in high-skill industries.

Of note was Australia’s moderately high score (6.5) for overall wage pressure, suggesting that wages are increasing above historic levels as employers compete for skilled professionals.

“With wages increasing quicker than the longer term trend, Australia is on the verge of an exceedingly tight labour market,” Hays Australia managing director Nick Deligiannis said.

Mr Deligiannis said a welcome turnaround in hiring was adding pressure to the delicate demand and supply base.

“Over recent years the skills shortage relaxed somewhat, but it is now intensifying around high-skill industries,” he said.

“We’re seeing business activity rising, organisations adding headcount, and candidates moving jobs.

“As confidence improves and the market becomes more active talent pools will tighten, particularly for highly-skilled and experienced professionals in high-skill industries such as IT, engineering, life sciences, finance and construction.

“As a result, candidates with in-demand skills can be confident of securing their next career move,” he said.

The Hays Global Skills Index assesses the efficiency of the skilled labour market in 31 countries, or its ability to supply skilled labour.

It is a composite figure based on seven indicators, including the supply of talent, labour market participation and labour market flexibility.

Australia’s overall score declined slightly from 5.5 in 2013 to 5.3 in 2014, which is consistent with a slowing down in GDP growth from 2012 to 2013.

But GDP growth is expected to accelerate this year, and wage pressure may also see the overall score increase next year.