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Last year 30% of energy workers saw their remuneration rise broadly in line with the cost of living at between 2-3%. Yet one quarter (25%) saw pay remain static, 2% saw their pay reduced and 10% received a pay rise below 1%.

The fall-out of this for the rest of 2014 could be that talented people whose skills are in demand will look for new roles elsewhere. Their current employers must work hard to retain them by focusing on career opportunities and benefits as well as pay.

However, the well-documented skills shortages in the energy sector mean people with the qualifications and talent employers crave, such as good project managers and specialist engineers, continue to do well in the pay stakes. Despite the economic downturn 10% were awarded a pay rise of between 6% and 10% last year and 10% enjoyed a jump of more than 10%.

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide

EI members had a slightly higher proportion of people earning more than £120,000 than the general survey population and a slightly lower proportion of respondents who had received no salary increase or a salary decrease.

“Candidates remain in control because we see time and again employers coming back with improved offers to get the people they need,” says Greg Lettington, director at Hays Energy. “Employers are also being more accommodating in terms of the benefits and flexible working options they offer to entice permanent staff and more ready to counter offer to retain the best.”

The most common salary bracket in energy is between £41,000-£60,000 (24%) although more than one quarter of respondents (27%) earn more than £80,000 a year and 6% receive more than £150,000.

The survey reveals that almost twice as many people without Chartered status earned below £41,000 against those with Chartered status. This was true for both Energy Institute members and non-members.

“Salaries have improved within the last 12 months with employers willing to offer a 15% increase on a candidate’s current salary for the right candidate in a hard to fill position,” says Hays Energy’s engineering recruitment manager Ankit Nangalia. “More employers have started to realise how fierce the pay competition is for people with the right skills.”

A performance-related bonus is important to 70% of people and it can be a crucial differentiator when candidates are choosing their next role or employer. Some 47% received a bonus last year and for 19% it represented 5% of their salary. For 10%, mainly older workers in specialist or senior management roles, it was more than 20% of their salary.

A larger percentage of EI members than the general survey population received a bonus in the past 12 months.

“We are seeing more bonuses being offered and additional overtime paid to incentivise workers to put more hours into their jobs on many projects,” says Nangalia. “For many engineering consultants who are not guaranteed bonuses it can be very attractive to know they can earn 10% of their salary.”

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide

The contractor market remains strong and anyone with about 10 years’ experience who chooses this route can earn almost double the permanent salaries offered in sectors such as electrical transmission and distribution (T&D), power generation and nuclear. “This is why there are so many contractors in the engineering sector at present,” says Lettington.

There still appears to be a gender pay gap. Only 12% of women earn between £61,000 and £80,000 compared with 16% of men and just 3% of the women questioned earned more than £100,000 but for men it was 13%. These statistics can be partly explained by the lack of women in specialist and senior positions across the industry.

Overall, 54% of women in our survey earned less than £41,000 compared to only 36% of all respondents. Even when you look at specific comparable job roles in engineering and scientific/technical positions, a similar differential applies – 52% of women earning under £41,000 compared to 36% of all respondents.


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