“War for talent” in the Thames Valley

by Marco Cillario Thu 10 December 2015, 5:36 pm

The Thames Valley will see a “huge increase” in hiring and a significant growth in salaries next year, but skills shortages could be an issue, according to a recent survey.

The Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2016 report, launched on 19 November at The Green Park Conference Centre in Reading, was compiled using data gathered from professional recruiting group Hays during 2015. It included a survey of over 3,500 employers and employees in the south-east of England.

The report indicated that confidence in Reading’s region’s economy is high, with 67% of employers expecting business activity to increase next year and 70% planning to recruit more staff within the next year. 

Data showed that salaries in the area grew by 3.3%, an average of £48,970 – well above the national average (2.3%). Employees in the construction, IT and marketing sectors received the biggest pay raise. 

The survey suggests that pay will increase next year, with 70% of employers expecting to raise salaries and 16% planning to raise them above 2.5%.

Increased economic confidence will have consequences for staff retention too, as it appears employers will need to further increase salaries if they want to keep their best talents: over half of the region’s workforce said they were dissatisfied with their current salary and 30% were looking to change job for this reason.

Simon Winfield, regional managing director at Hays, spoke of a “war for talent”, as 80% of employers said skills shortages would be a challenge next year. 

He said that this could stifle growth for many Thames Valley businesses: “2016’s war for talent will be particularly aggressive in the south-east’s construction sector, which is currently riding high on a wave of property and infrastructure projects.

“The industry faces a formidable skills shortage and elite construction professionals are becoming steadily harder to find and more valuable to employers.” 

He added that businesses which could not offer high salaries might need to provide alternative incentives such as robust training opportunities and clear paths for career development.

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