Wages rise faster in the East of England than the rest of UK

Wages in the East of England have risen more in the past year than anywhere else in the UK, accordin

Wages in the East of England have risen more in the past year than anywhere else in the UK, according to a survey. Picture: Thinkstock. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Workers in the East of England have seen the biggest wage rise in the country, according to new research which says the region's skills shortage is damaging employee morale.

A lack of suitable applicants for jobs is driving up wages, as employers struggle to find the skills they need when filling key positions.

The report, compiled by recruiter Hays, shows that salaries in the East of England rose by 2.6% in the past year, outstripping the rest of the country. The average wage rise across the UK was 1.8%.

Construction and property professionals have seen significant averages increases nationally, at 2.7%, followed by IT (2.3%) and engineering (2.2%), though the most in-demand skills were able to command the highest rises – such as cyber security information security analysts (10.5%) and engineers (8.4%).

As well as causing wage pressure, firms say the skills shortages have impacted their productivity (59%) and growth (30%) while 27% said it was shaping their business development plans. To ease the pressure, one in three employers (33%) has turned to recruiting temporary professionals.

However, just 56% of staff rated their work-life balance as positive, while the same number said they see no scope for progression in their organisation, and 60% were dissatisfied with their salary.

Jane Donnelly, managing director of Hays in East of England, said: 'Despite the economic and political uncertainty and challenges faced by UK organisations, employers in the East of England are offering robust salaries to attract the right talent.

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'However, skills shortages have the potential to severely limit companies' growth, hinder productivity and damage employee morale at a critical time. Employees are feeling the pressure, salary dissatisfaction is fuelling the discontent and careers are being stifled. Employers are concerned about the impact this could have on their ability to capitalise on their plans for growth.'

More widely, Hays said businesses in the East of England are optimistic about the year ahead, with 55% expecting their business activity to increase over the coming year and 73% planning to recruit over the next 12 months.