Organisations in East Anglia are starting to pay more to attract and retain high calibre employees

Salaries across East Anglia are starting to increase as the job market becomes more competitive, according to the latest salary and recruitment report by Pure.

The 2016 report, released by East Anglia’s professional recruitment specialists, reveals that employers across the region are now having to work harder to attract and retain high calibre staff. Previous reports showed salaries remained steady for the last five years, but this year average salaries are beginning to rise and more innovative benefit packages are being introduced.

Gill Buchanan, co-founder and director at Pure, said: “The increase is salaries could be partly attributed to the introduction of the national living wage. Salaries have increased for temporary and permanent office roles in particular, for example the average salary for a receptionist has risen to £18,000 in Essex, an increase of £2,000.  

“However, as the Eastern Region economy improves more organisations are expanding and recruiting. Competition for talented employees is increasing and with more job opportunities available people are becoming more confident about switching companies. Candidates feel more empowered to negotiate better terms and employers need to be prepared for this. Our salary survey is not just provided for job-seekers; we also compile it to provide employers with the research needed to benchmark how competitive their salary offering is.”

The report shows that salary increases are particularly noticeable in Cambridgeshire, a county which currently has a number of industries facing a shortage of experienced employees. In the accountancy sector, salaries have remained reasonably consistent for higher level managerial positions but have significantly increased for the part-qualified market where demand is much higher. The average salary for newly qualified accountancy professionals is now £45,000, a 20% increase over the last two years.  

In general, salaries across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have remained more consistent, but are predicted to rise as the job market continues to become more buoyant. For example, the number of job opportunities in Essex is staring to rise for the first time since the recession. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and Private Equity Investment has had a positive effect on recruitment in the county which faces increased pressure from being close to London and competing with the capital’s weighted salaries.

Other factors highlighted have also shown that employers in the region are reviewing how to attract and retain good employees. In Norfolk and Suffolk in particular there has been a noticeable trend for increased investment in career development opportunities, highlighted by the number of businesses seeking to appoint learning and development or training specialists.

Gill added: “Being able to demonstrate an investment in employee development is an excellent way to help attract high calibre candidates. Candidates are still reluctant to move on salary alone and benefits, career progression and workplace culture remain significant deciding factors. However, employers also need to review whether the benefits they offer are still competitive. Pensions used to be a key differentiator, but with the Workplace Pensions roll out almost complete, employers are now starting to offer enhanced pensions to entice new employees. Benefits which used to make employers stand out from the crowd are also becoming more common place, for example 85 per cent of the companies we’ve surveyed now offer flexible working hours.”

Pure’s salary report covers its core industry recruitment sectors of Accountancy, Financial Services, Human Resources, Office Support and Marketing. The 2016 report also includes results for the IT sector, following the launch of Pure’s IT recruitment specialism in 2015.  

The findings have been compiled using information from Pure’s Compare my Salary tool and the team’s extensive knowledge of the recruitment market in East Anglia. Compare my Salary is a unique online tool for candidates to benchmark their salary and benefits against like-for-like job roles in the region. It is also used as a benchmark for organisations to gauge salaries to acquire and retain top talent.

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