Demand for key personnel surging in buoyant Suffolk economy says 2014 salary survey
As the brakes come off East Anglia’s re-energised economy, Suffolk employers are looking well beyond county boundaries to fill senior posts which are vital to their own business acceleration plans.
That’s a key conclusion of the 2014 Cooper Lomaz Recruitment Salary Survey, widely respected throughout Eastern England as a reliable barometer of employment and remuneration trends in the region.
Business is booming for leading independent recruiters Cooper Lomaz, as client companies’ needs for key management and senior staff rise rapidly. The firm has its head office in Bury St Edmunds with other offices in Lowestoft and Norwich, servicing SMEs and blue chip company clients.
“Cooper Lomaz’ own business revenue increased by 20% in 2013 and we expect similar growth in 2014,” said Operations Director Mark Fletcher. “We have taken on 11 new consultants in the past year and anticipate we will increase our staffing levels by a similar number in the coming 12 months.”
“There are a lot more jobs around. The big challenge for us is to find people with the skill sets our clients are looking for. Employers are displaying more confidence in planning for the future, but many are frustrated by the lack of candidates with the niche skills they need to drive those plans forward.”
While the new-found confidence is funding modest salary increases across the board, the demand for key management personnel – in which Cooper Lomaz specialises across seven important business sectors – is producing spectacular gains for some. Those seven sectors are accountancy, engineering, food manufacturing, IT, oil gas & renewables, sales & marketing and the supply chain.
The big earnings winners are those with niche skills in Engineering, Information Technology or Energy or those with a wider more commercial/strategic skills base, particularly in the areas of accountancy and marketing – and employers are searching long and hard to find them
“The 2014 salary survey findings are a positive endorsement of the buoyancy of the East Anglian jobs market that there are a lot of quality positions paying good salaries which need filling,” said Mr Fletcher. “Coupled with the lower cost of living, the vacancies are increasingly drawing candidates from London and beyond.”
Mr Fletcher said the survey concludes that trend will continue as long-awaited trunk road improvements develop – the fully-dualled A11 is due to open during 2014 – speedier rail links and faster broadband speeds.
“Faster transport links will also mean it is easier for people to travel between regional centres to work,” said Mr Fletcher.
Mr Fletcher said the survey highlighted that where employers are unable to fill permanent positions, they are increasingly prepared to turn to contract staff.
“Where the permanent jobs market is unable to provide the skills they need, more and more clients are willing to bring in someone in the short term,” he said.
The salary survey found that the sectors which present the biggest challenge are food manufacturing and the supply chain, where profit margins have long been squeezed by pressure from supermarkets. As a result, salaries have been depressed.
“The jobs are there but they are not paying as much as some other sectors. More needs to be done to establish apprenticeships and encourage graduates into the industry,” said Mr Fletcher.
The survey highlighted a further challenge – unemployment remains highest among school leavers and graduates and the rising costs of commuting makes finding work even more challenging for people in this demographic.
Statistics gathered by Cooper Lomaz Recruitment from across the region show salaries continue to be markedly higher in Cambridgeshire and those parts of Essex nearer to London – although in many cases the gap is narrowing.
Picture - Cooper Lomaz Operations Director Mark Fletcher (right) and Sales Director Richard Mould present the findings of the 2014 Cooper Lomaz Recruitment Salary Survey. Newsmakers PR