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Salaries on the rise, no signs of WFH pay cuts

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Some 61% of employers are set to give salary increases over the next year, according to a new survey. Now is the time to see how your rate and benefits compare so you can get your project and LinkedIn profiles updated.

Salaries across the UK increased by 2.8%, according to the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2022 guide, above the 1.2% recorded last year. Fifteen of the top 20 roles with the highest increases were in the technology sector, highlighting the high demand for IT professionals. That said, in Australia, professionals feel the pay increases just arent enough.

Security architects top the list with an increase of 16.4%, the highest increase within the top twenty, while penetration testers saw an above-average increase of 10.6%. Three of the top twenty salary rises were for cyber security roles, receiving increases of above 8%.

Other roles in the top 20 were in engineering, marketing, and procurement. Professionals working in technology, engineering and manufacturing, marketing, life sciences and construction can expect double-digit salary growth to continue, said the report.

The salary guide reports annually on recruitment intentions across the UK, and this year is based on the analysis of over 10,000 salaries, alongside survey data of over 22,700 employers and professionals.

Are salaries reflecting performance?

“As hiring intentions continue to climb, areas of the workforce are seeing double-digit salary growth, with technology salaries rising fast,” said Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland.

Winfield said the boost is due in part to the pandemic, which has led to a greater reliance on technology, fuelling salary growth across the sector, especially in areas like cyber security.

“The high demand for staff coupled with low levels of skilled talent means upwards pressure on pay rates is likely to continue into 2022,” said Winfield in an SIA report.

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Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland : Niche areas of the tech sector could see considerable salary boosts

Positivity about career prospects has improved from 41% last year to 69%. Furthermore, 57% of tech employees expect to move jobs in the next year, higher than the UK average (52%). The top reason for leaving is their salary and benefits package (34%), greater than UK employees overall (27%). Of those employees not planning to change jobs soon, 55% say they could be tempted by a better salary and benefits package.

Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2022 guide

Even though salaries are supposedly going up, 36% of professionals say they are dissatisfied with their current salary. Dissatisfaction seems to come down to people feeling their salary does not reflect their performance (56%).

While many employers compete on salary, 62% of professionals say they would be prepared to accept a lower paid job for a better work-life balance or a job with more purpose.

Salary increases driving a wedge in Australia

In Australia, the value of salary increases is driving a wedge between employers and employees, according to Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. 

67% of the more than 3,800 skilled professionals Hays also spoke to say a rise of 3% or more would better reflect their individual performance.  

Already, 39% surveyed in Australia say they are dissatisfied with their current salary. Of these, more than half say it doesn’t reflect their individual performance over the past year.  

“On the one hand, we have almost seven in ten employers intending to increase salaries in the year ahead, which is a remarkable sign of the confidence employers exhibit today. On the other, professionals say the value of these increases is far less than they deserve,” said Deligiannis.

“This is creating a gap between what employers will offer and employees say they are worth. This divide must be managed sensitively if employers are to retain staff and attract new talent in short supply,” he said.

There are several ways to help overcome this gap, but Deligiannis. said one strategy stands out above the rest: investing in the training, development and career progression of staff.

“After a year in which many skilled professionals put career plans on hold, they are focusing once more on their long-term goals,” he said. 

Will salaries be cut if work-life benefits are fulfilled?

“For employers, whilst salary is important, our findings show that staff are attracted to roles with better work-life balance and roles which offers more purpose,” Winfield said.

He continued: “People are increasingly being motivated to work for organisations which prioritise social responsibility, doing good and have a purpose, there’s a clear shift away from more traditional motivators such as salary and benefits. Opportunities such as offering volunteer days, supporting charitable organisations, and having a clear strategy for sustainability are all really important to prospective candidates.”

However, there are fears that some companies will take advantage of more employees and contractors wanting to work from home at least a couple of days each week by following Google’s lead in the US. The online retailer is the first major employer to state that staff who work from home full-time could face salary cuts and earn less than those who work in its office.

So far, according to Jane Donnelly, Managing Director, Hays East of England, no major UK employer has announced a similar plan. 

“I think it is unlikely to happen any time soon given the widespread skills shortages across many sectors,” said Donnelly.” Currently, the main driver of salaries is the high demand for skilled talent and this fuelling pay increases.”

Lower pay for remote workers is currently at odds with popular sentiment. According to a Hays poll, of 2000 respondents 80% don’t believe fully remote workers should be paid less than in-office workers.

“Covid-19 has been a huge catalyst for change in terms of how and where we work. And it is challenging in periods of great upheaval to know which changes will be temporary and which are fundamental shifts that will be permanent. However, while the demand for talent is high and skills shortages are widespread, I can’t see a policy of pay cuts for remote workers gaining traction in the UK,” said Donnelly.

Roles with top 20 tech salary increases:

1. Security Architect

2. Senior Marketing Executive

3. Penetration Tester

4. Cyber Security Engineer

5. Cyber Security Manager

6. Data Architect

7. Production Shift Manager

8. Cryptographer

9. Cyber Security Analyst

10. Project Controls Manager

11. Senior Developer

12. DevOps Engineer

13. Cryptanalyst

14. UI/UX Developer

15. Cost Estimator

16. Junior Front End Developer

17. Data Analyst

18. Logistics Coordinator

19. Data Engineer

20. Chief Information Security Office

Source: Hays, SIA

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