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South East employees see second year running average salary increase

Average salary levels in the South East grew for the second year running in 2019 across a variety of job roles, according to new data released by Reed Specialist Recruitment. 

  • 2.8 per cent average regional salary growth for 2019, compared to national average of 3.5 per cent (1.1 per cent in 2018)
  • Jobs with the highest wage increase in 2019 at salaries below £40,000 in the region include production engineer (8.6 per cent), recruitment coordinator (6.6 per cent) and head chef (4.4 per cent)
  • Fastest increasing salaries for roles above £40,000 include data engineer (9.5 per cent), communications manager (7.8 per cent) and cloud engineer (7.8 per cent)

From analysis of 7.5 million jobs posted since the start of 2016, Reed Specialist Recruitment’s annual suite of 2020 Salary Guides found that wages across South East business sectors were on the rise. The 2.8 per cent average salary growth for the South East during 2019 compares with the national average salary growth of 3.5 per cent, and follows a 1.1 per cent increase in 2018.

Biggest job increases across the South East

A number of sectors and specific job roles experienced salary increases that outstripped the national average, with highlights for roles under £40,000 including production engineers (8.6 per cent), recruitment coordinators (6.6 per cent) and head chefs (4.4 per cent).

Jobs with salaries paying more than £40,000 a year in the South East also performed well – with an increase of 9.5 per cent for data engineers and a 7.8 per cent increase for communications managers and cloud engineers respectively, according to data from the Reed Specialist Recruitment 2020 Salary Guides.

Collette Huckle, regional managing director for Reed South East, said: “The South East has performed strongly, with the average salaries growing for a second year in a row. However, London’s close proximity means that candidates expect a higher salary, which businesses in the South East have to compete with.

“Firms in the region are not only competing against one another, but we often find that the best candidates are also receiving offers from big city companies. Invariably, city firms are willing to pay more and provide benefits to help with travel, which enables them to secure the candidates they desire.”

Comparisons to other regions

The 2.8 per cent average increase in advertised salaries across the region is less than the UK average, but other regions such as the South West (1.8 per cent), the North West (1.7 per cent) and Yorkshire & Humberside (1.6 per cent) all fell below the South East.

Huckle continued: “Companies in the South East must be prepared to find ways to compete with the big city firms, whether through offering innovative benefits packages or opportunities for fast career progression. This competition is intensified by the fact that there is a limited pool of highly skilled candidates with a lot of experience.

“Employing the right people and capturing the best talent will be crucial to helping businesses in the South East achieve their objectives, and these salary guides will give an indication of where the competition is and where it is going to be in 2020.”