Salary survey exposes companies’ bid to win best staff

STAYING competitive as an employer is back at the top of the agenda as companies start a battle to secure the best staff to help in the climb out of recession.
That’s the conclusion employment experts at Anne Corder Recruitment have drawn from the results of this year’s Peterborough Local Market Survey, produced by specialist reward consultants PAYdata Ltd in partnership with the independent recruitment agency.
Not only has the survey revealed a two per cent increase in salaries over the past year – following last year’s 3.6 per cent downturn – but more companies than ever took part so giving an even more accurate snapshot of the current market.
A total of 32 of Greater Peterborough’s most high profile companies, representing different industries and sectors, fed information into the survey about employees pay and benefits. That represents an increase of a third on last year.
“After concentrating solely on surviving the recession, many companies are now starting to look ahead and make decisions about staffing levels,” said Nel Woolcott (pictured), ACR recruitment partner. “This year’s record number of contributors is a sign that companies are keen to buy into the Local Market Survey as a key decision making tool.”
The salary survey is in its 13th year and has become a valuable benchmark for companies when reviewing the pay and benefits for employees.
Last year’s results showed the first overall downturn in wages in 12 years. This year’s overall increase of two per cent is described as ‘small yet significant’ by Nel.
“The last two years have seen many companies remaining cautious and implementing pay freezes. These results reveal the majority of companies have offered some level of increase this year with those having a pay review later in the year tending to have been more generous,” said Nel.
“As the effects of the recession lift companies keen to recruit are having to position themselves as an employer of choice.  This happens on two levels – attracting the right candidates to fill vacancies but also increasing salary levels in an effort to retain staff.”
Recruitment partners at ACR have also noticed a shift in the attitude of candidates.
“With more positivity in business, there has been a change in attitude among job seekers from ‘any job will do’ to ‘I want THAT job’,” said Nel. “Companies will need to take that into account when setting salary levels.”
According to data services manager for PayData Tim Kellett, the regional results reflect nationwide trends. He said: “Where there have been pay increases, they have typically centred on the two per cent mark.  Overall, local pay trends have stabilised, given the significant fluctuations seen in both 2008 and 2009.  Even so, labour market conditions look set to remain challenging in the short term.”
Key findings from the survey include:

  • Overall, local base salaries have increased two per cent from last year.
  • Secretarial and admin staff have received the greatest increase on average – five per cent.
  • When considering specific roles, call centre advisers were the biggest winners with an average increase of 10.3 per cent.
  • 37 per cent of organisations report that they differentiate holiday entitlement by seniority and level – significantly more than last year’s survey when only six per cent reported a differentiation.
  • Consistent with last year’s findings, those working in jobs coming under the store, warehouse and production classification continue to be the worst affected.
  • 71 per cent of organisations offer private medical insurance. Of these, 41 per cent offer it to all of their staff.