North East workers better paid but not as happy, new report reveals

Results of the Nigel Wright 2015 Salary Survey highlight a growing pay divide between men and women in the North East

Paul Wilson , chief executive of Nigel Wright
Paul Wilson , chief executive of Nigel Wright

North East employees received an average 3% pay rise over the last year, although the gap between male and female salaries continued to grow by 1%, according to a major survey.

The gap between the salaries of the region’s male and female workers widened to 12% — higher than the national average of 9.4% — according to respondents to the 2015 Nigel Wright Salary Survey.

Around 1,000 workers, 29% of which were female and 71% male, contributed their views to inform the report, which together with more women in part-time work, reflected in the salary statistics.

Salary increases, which were biggest among executives and in the HR sector, were noted despite a decline in overall job satisfaction.

Results showed a higher proportion of non-management employees were “moderately satisfied” at work than in 2014’s survey.

Some 40% of executive board level respondents claimed to be very satisfied with their jobs in 2014, that percentage had fallen to just under 25% in 2015.

Engineering, supply chain and manufacturing staff tended to claim moderate satisfaction in the their jobs while just under 20% of HR, finance and IT support staff claimed to be very dissatisfied at work.

For those who were unhappy enough to be looking elsewhere, they were increasingly likely to use job boards and social networking sites to find employment.

Using social networking sites when searching for a job has increased by 30% in the surveys between 2010 and 2015, and is now noted as an integral part of the recruitment process.

Respondents in non permanent employment rely more on online job boards (70%), and 49% of permanent employees use online job boards while 36% use social networking sites.

Paul Wilson, chief executive officer at Nigel Wright, said: “The 3% increase in North East salaries is a clear indication of the improving market conditions we’ve been experiencing in the past year. The economy is growing and companies have started rewarding people again.

“The decline in job satisfaction is an interesting figure; essentially, it means that after years of prioritising job security over career development, candidates are becoming more open to re-evaluating their careers and looking for better conditions elsewhere.

“It is very much a candidate-driven market, and as confidence levels improve, candidate shortages become more widespread. The skills shortage issue is particularly prominent in the region; competition for the best people has been heightened and companies are willing to pay for the best talent.

“Finally, as more and more individuals are now using online media in their job search, it is increasingly important for businesses to invest in their employer brand and in resources that can maximise their potential for attracting the best candidates.”

Candidates in the market for a new job clearly indicated that flexible working conditions would be a major factor in persuading them to move on. Flexible working, as a benefit, has increased in popularity by 11% in the last 12 months.

Elsewhere contractor day rates — predominantly in IT, finance and operations roles — were up by almost 10% on last year’s levels.

Average daily rates for temps rose from £130 to £160 while the same measure for interim candidates fell from £360 to £345.

Fewer people claimed they received a guaranteed bonus among this year’s pool of workers and company bonuses remained static at 8%.

Personal bonuses increased by between 1%-10%, although fewer people received them over the course of the year.

The majority of respondents to this year’s salary survey were employed by companies or organisations with less than 1,000 employees (57%), and 41% were employed by companies or organisations with a turnover greater than £40m.

The spread of respondents across sectors followed: manufacturing, 35%; business support and professional services, 31%; public and third sectors, 13%; consumer, 8%; and digital and creative, 8%.

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