Annual cash compensation for construction and real estate executives rose modestly in 2003, increasing a median 4.3 percent for the year, according to a survey conducted by executive search firm Specialty Consultants and published in itsConstruction & Real Estate Leaders.

“Unlike many other industries, construction … experienced little in the way of salary cuts or freezes,” the report stated. “When freezes did occur, they were often placed on vacant positions …, effectively making them hiring freezes.”

Mechanical contracting executive compensation rose 3.4 percent, while general building and construction management salaries increased 3.7 percent.

The survey also found a shift from long-term incentive plan structures, such as stock options, to short-term incentives that deliver meaningful, competitive rewards relating to well-defined objectives.