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North East Salary Report 2019: The best (and worst) careers for job satisfaction

Nigel Wright Recruitment’s North East employment trends salary report is released today.

The job market remains buoyant, workers are experiencing modest salary growth and are demanding greater autonomy in their roles through flexible working, according to Nigel Wright Recruitment’s latest report.

The region’s leading recruitment consultancy surveyed over 35,000 North East respondents working at different disciplines and levels, covering a cross-section of sectors.

The survey finds that employers are increasingly looking beyond pay rates to attract and retain staff, by providing an increasing openness to offering greater flexible working practices.

Respondents felt that the three most important employer benefits were flexible working (66%), holiday entitlement (56%) and an employer contributory pension (56%). 72% of people say their company offers at least one option of flexible working. The most common flexible benefits are giving staff informal permission to start late or finish early (54%) and working from home (45%).

Workers’ job satisfaction appears to be directly related to the extra efforts they are then willing to invest with their employers. This is particularly important at times of record levels of concern amongst North East employers regarding skills shortages and a tight employment market.

The survey results found that people working over 50 hours a week are more satisfied in their jobs than those working up to 40 hours a week.

There are differences by role though. Sales professionals displayed higher levels of dissatisfaction in their jobs than all other disciplines, with a third (33%) saying that they were dissatisfied. HR, finance and supply chain professionals display the highest level of satisfaction (63%-65%).

Nigel Wright Recruitment also gathered information on the average salary and benefits people receive within the region, as well as data on job satisfaction, the reasons for leaving jobs, gender differences in pay, and the methods used by candidates in their job search.


Some of the highlights of the survey are outlined below:

Basic salaries

  • Respondents received, on average, a 2.6% increase, which was correctly anticipated in last year’s salary survey.
  • Overall, respondents are expecting slightly less in their next salary review, with the average increase expected falling to 2.4%.

Benefits and bonus

  • 89% of respondents working in permanent employment receive some form of company benefit or bonus.  Of those receiving benefits the most common is a company pension (95%), a company bonus (47%) and healthcare (43%).  
  • 76% of respondents are concerned about the size of their final pension pot.
  • Bonus payments for this year are anticipated to be slightly lower than last year.
  • The three most important employer benefits are flexible working (66%), holiday entitlement (56%) and an employer contributory pension (56%). Career breaks (3%) and share options (10%) were considered the least important benefits.
  • In terms of gender, women do appreciate flexible working and holidays more than men, whereas men favoured bonus payments and share options more than women.
  • 72% of people say their company offers at least one option of flexible working. Most common was informal permission to either start late or finish early (54%) and working from home (45%).

Job seeking, job changing and hiring intentions

  • Increased remuneration, new challenges and promotion are the most important factors for respondents, when looking to change jobs.
  • When asked about challenges that their company would expect to encounter when recruiting staff over the next 12 months; over half (54%) cited a shortage of suitable candidates, followed by competition from other employers (33%).
  • 49% of respondents said they are planning to change roles within the next 2 years and a further 9% are currently in the process.
  • 73% of respondents in permanent employment would use online job boards to find a new role. 45% would make direct approaches to employers.


Paul Wilson, CEO at Nigel Wright Group, commented on the findings:

“The North East economy remains strong with low unemployment but without a significant influx of people joining the regional employment market, skill shortages are increasing. This means it’s a tight market for employers to find new talent. This highlights the importance of keeping salaries competitive and ensuring your good staff are satisfied and challenged in their roles.

Attracting and retaining talent will mean doing more listening to what employees want. The demand for flexible working isn’t going to go away and those companies that don’t find mutually beneficial solutions risk putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

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


Click here to download the full report and salary tables.

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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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