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Average Salaries North East 2020 - North East Salaries, Skills & Benefits Report

Nigel Wright Recruitment’s 2020 Salaries, Skills and Benefits Report for the North East of England is specifically designed to provide insight into the average salaries commanded by professionals in the North East.

Todays’ workforce in the North East is increasingly fluid, with 57% planning to change jobs within 2 years. 75% of them are changing employers to feel valued, have influence and make an impact. Nigel Wright Recruitment’s North East employment trends survey sheds new light on the differences between how employers are attracting and retaining their workforce and which benefits are valued the most by employees.

Amidst a background of slow salary growth, North East employees increasingly want to make a difference at work, and are attracted by a company's values and culture, as well as opportunities to work flexibly, according to Nigel Wright Group’s latest report.

The leading recruitment consultancy surveyed over 1,000 North East professionals working across different disciplines and levels, in a cross-section of sectors. The report was also informed by extensive research amongst Human Resource leaders in the North East, including a series of in-depth face to face interviews.

Data revealed that the main reason respondents change jobs is that they want to work in an environment where they can feel like they’re making a difference. Flexible working practices are becoming the norm in many areas and industries too, with demands for flexible working out-pacing what is provided.

Nigel Wright also gathered information on average salaries across all disciplines and benefits people receive, as well as data on company hiring intentions. The findings were formally revealed at launch events in Wynyard and Newcastle upon Tyne in January.

A summary of the key findings are as follows:


  • One quarter (24%) of people didn’t receive a salary increase last year, and one third (32%) received up to 2%.
  • With the UK annual inflation rate averaging almost 2% in 2019, this means that 56% had an effective decrease in the value of their basic salary.
  • Nearly half of professionals receive some form of bonus/commission.

Changing jobs

  • Candidates think that salary increases can be gained by moving to other employers. 57% said they are planning to change jobs within the next two years.
  • Overall, the main reasons to change jobs were to feel valued and make a difference (75%), followed by a higher salary (70%), location (65%), a company's values and culture (61%) and agile/flexible working (61%).

Flexible working

  • 81% work for a company that offers some form of flexible working, up from 69% in 2018.
  • The main flexible working practices provided are Informal permission to start late/leave early (47%), working from home occasionally (42%), and flexi-time with a 'core’ time required at work (27%).
  • Employees’ top demands, however, include agile working - work where, when and how you choose (47%).
  • For many employers, barriers to agile working revolve around culture and mindset. Their sectors play an important part, with manufacturing and engineering sites facing the greatest challenges. 47% of Human Resource leaders said that agile working was not a current objective.

Hiring intentions

  • 65% of firms expect to recruit at least as many or more people in 2020 than 2019.
  • A shortage of suitable candidates (54%) followed by competition from other employers (37%) were cited as the key challenges faced by companies seeking to increase headcount. Both issues had increased (by 6% and 7% respectively) from the previous year. 
  • A fifth felt that applicants have unrealistic salary requirements. And only 17% expected any hiring issues relating to Brexit.
  • To address skill shortages, respondents highlighted how firms are seeking to increase external hiring (50%), recruit graduates and apprentices (39%), and reskill their current workforce (34%).

Mark Simpson, Group Executive Director at Nigel Wright Recruitment, commented on the findings:

“There is great talent within the North East and surrounding counties but employers are finding that it isn’t getting any easier to attract the right people for each organisation’s specific role, culture and stakeholders.

“It’s clear from our report that making your employees feel valued and involved will help companies attract and retain the best people. And it’s encouraging to hear that HR leaders are addressing ways to increase employee engagement ahead of all other priorities.

“The demand for flexible working is increasing and those companies that don’t find mutually beneficial solutions risk putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage to more progressive competitors.

“A happy and healthy talent pool along with heightened competition for the best skills should raise standards overall which is better for all companies, big or small.” 


For more information on the North East Salaries, Skills & Benefits Report 2020, please use the below contact details:



Richard Morgan

Associate Director


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0743

M: +44 (0) 791 872 9065


Human Resources

Sue O’Donovan

Managing Consultant


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0778

M: +44 (0) 784 332 9390



Sue Ormerod

Regional Director for IT Executive Roles


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0722

M: +44 (0) 791 873 3904


Chris Dresser

Managing Consultant


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0728

M: +44 (0) 750 122 5018


Supply Chain and Engineering & Manufacturing

Lisa Taylor

Associate Director


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0685

M: +44 (0) 771 413 3486


Sales & Marketing

Ben Debnam

Associate Director


DD: +44 (0) 191 269 0745

M: +44 (0) 771 413 3484

Free Salary Report

North East Salaries, Skills & Benefits Report 2020

This report provides insight into the salaries, skills and benefits received by professionals in the North East this year.

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