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Cities outside of London offering the biggest pay increase

On average, professional salaries* for permanent roles in the North West will see a bigger hike (+7%) in 2019, compared with any other region in the country. This compares with London (+3%), Yorkshire (+3%), and the Midlands (+1%). The data comes from leading recruiter Robert Walters annual Salary Survey

Those on a contract, temp or project-based fees (charging by the day or hour) will see a significant increase in their rates – namely in the Midlands (+11%), London (+9%), and St Albans (+5%). 

Chris Hickey, UK CEO at Robert Walters, comments: “It comes as no surprise that salaries outside of London will be receiving bigger percentage increases than the capital. 

“The UK remains a ‘two-speed economy’, with London-based financial services firms experiencing slow growth due to Brexit-related concerns, while non-financial services companies outside of London experienced much faster growth. 

“Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham have been particularly successful in positioning themselves as regional tech-hubs, attracting talent that would have historically migrated to London.”

Salaries in the tech sector are the most lucrative – averaging around £70,000, compared with salaries in other professional sectors such as Law - £65,000, and Accounting & Finance at £53,000.

*salaries refer to all roles within a profession from junior through to senior

Salaries by Region 


Salary increases 

Professionals within the accounting & financial sphere are in a healthy position when requesting salary negotiations this year. Those doing a A+F role within banking and financial services will be able to command a +5% increase, whilst those within the commercial environment will see increases of +13% in salaries. 

Interim Management within Accounting & Finance also seems to be lucrative, with CFO’s being able to demand between £1500 - £2500 per day (+8%), Finance Directors of SME’s - £600 - £850 per day (+12%), and Business Change - £600 - £1600 (+5%). 

As pressures around regulations mount, salaries in Internal Audit continue to rise. Those in permanent positions will have an increase in salaries of around +8%, and contract day rates increasing by +11% on average. 

For the Legal sphere – the biggest increases in salaries will be within Private Practice (+6%) – with those specialising in risk (+10%), and compliance (+22%) being able to command the biggest salary increases. 

A competitive market in Procurement will mean that highly sought after talent will likely have multiple offers on the table resulting in salary inflation – at both the permanent (+6%) and contract (+5%) level. In London, Chief Procurement Officers within the commercial sector will be able to command over £180k (+6%), whilst Senior Buyers will receive salaries in the region of £55k - £65k (+9%). 

In light of Brexit, firms will continue to invest in their Risk strategy and as a result those with ample experience (10+ years) will be able to command salary inflations between 10-20%, with Quantative Analysis being the most lucrative area to work in. 

The Tax market will remain strong in 2019 with tax reforms a prominent topic as of late. Candidates with a breadth of experience in international tax, VAT and a good understanding of the tax implications of mergers and acquisitions will be highly sought after. Employees in a Head of Tax role can expect inflations of +16%, between £100k - £120k. There will be ample work for tax professionals within banking and financial services, with contract roles expecting an increase of +12% in day rates. 

Salary decreases

Salaries for operations roles within Investment Banking and Investment Management seem to be taking the biggest hit in London this year – namely in Derivatives Trade Support where decreases will be felt across the board at the Analysts level (-19%), and Management level (-6%).  Contractors at the Analyst level will also see a reduction in their day rate to £80 - £250 per day (-17.5%). 

In Investment Management, the biggest cutbacks will be felt at the Management level namely those in Relationship Management - £75k - £95k (-15%), and Data Management - £70k (-11%). Companies are less likely to hire interim managers – with lack of demand pushing salaries down by -17% at the Analyst level, -25% at AVP/Associate level, and -5% at Management level.


Salary increases 

Some of the biggest increases in the Midlands region will come to qualified accountants – with those in permanent roles expecting on average a +14% increase, and those on contract hourly rates an increase of +12%. 

Demand seems to be high for interim talent in Information Technology (IT), with day rates expected to increase in SAP Support (+36%), and Testing (+19%) – who can both command up to £550 per day. In terms of skills, employees with a background in BI, data science, AI, cyber security, Java, Linux, CRM dynamics, architecture, cloud security and product will all be in demand. In the Midlands, Heads of BI/Data will be able to command premiums up to £90,000 (+41%). 

Those practicing Law in the region will see a marginal increase of + 3% across the board. There is an acute shortage at the 2-4 year post-qualified experience (PQE) level.

Salary decreases

Those working in Human Resources at the most senior levels will suffer from cutbacks in 2019, namely HR Directors (-12%), Head of Learning & Development (-9%), Head of Recruitment (-7%), HR Business Partner (-5%), and Head of HR (-3%). However, those in roles that are in demand such as Recruitment (+15%), Compensation & Benefits (+12%), and Training (+9%) will see salaries inflate as competition for top talent hots up. 

Hit & Miss

Salary surges will fluctuate for those in Supply Chain & Procurement, with those at the top of the chain – Operations Director – at risk of a salary reduction of -6% (£75k - £150k). First Line Managers (-20%) and Planners (-3%) will continue to take a hit as technology rises in prominence within the supply chain. 

However not all is doom and gloom, in spite of Brexit it will be business as usually for the supply Procurement & Supply Chain sector – with roles including as General Manager (+6%), Head of Supply Chain (+4%), Operations Manager (+11%), and Category Director (+5%) all receiving salary increases. 

Salaries in Banking & Financial Services will remain fairly static, excluding those with 0-3 years’ experience in anti-money laundering who will be able to command a pay increase of almost +18% (£25 - £35k). On the other hand, Investment Managers in the Midlands will be feeling the pinch as their salaries are cutback by as much as -15% (£20 - £35k). 

North West

Salary increases 

The North West, in particular Manchester, is becoming known for its rapidly developing tech hub. No where was demand more apparent in the sector than for professionals in IT Security – with salaries increasing on average by +14%. A Chief Information Security Office (CISO) in the North West can expect offers in the region of £100k, compared to £80k in 2018. 

Despite on-going concerns around Brexit, job creation remains high for accounting & finance professionals within the commercial sector (FMCG, sale of goods). However, for finance professionals in the North West the best opportunities for increasing pay seem to lie in interim/contract work. 

Salaries across the board will increase in both Private Practice and In-house in Law. Due to a UK-wide candidate shortage, in-house and Private Practice lawyers at the 2 year post-qualified experience (PQE) level will be able to command salary increases by as much as +6% - for in-house this would be in the region of £41k - £60, and for those in Private Practice between £35k - £47k. 

Manufacturing & Engineering looks promising, with permanent salaries expecting to rise by +8%, and contract day rates by +14% on average. 

Interim roles in Supply Chain & Procurement will be lucrative, with average day rate expected to rise this year by +8%. Biggest increases will be for Supplier Relationship Manager - £400 - £550 p/d (+15%), Procurement Director - £700 - £1000 p/d (+13%), and Demand Planning Manager - £350 - £600 p/d (+8%). 

In contrast to other regions, Banking & Financial Services is offering healthier pay increases – particularly for talent with 3+ years experience in middle & front office functions. Pockets of intense hiring will happen in business-critical roles such as risk, with Regulatory Risk roles fetching £40k - £55k (+40%), Credit Risk - £37k - £65k (+13%), and Fraud - £37k - £65k (+7%). 

Salary decreases

Whilst salaries for accounting & finance across the North West remain fairly positive, it’s a different story in Merseyside. On average salaries for permanent roles will decrease by -4%, and for contract work by -7%. The biggest cuts in both perm and contract will be for Credit Control Managers, Accounts Payable Manager/Team Leader, and Payroll Manager/Team Leader. 

Salaries in Human Resources and Secretarial & Support will remain largely static in 2019. 


Salary increases

The only professional sector in Yorkshire that looks set to increase salaries in 2019 is Law. There is an acute shortage at the 2-4 year post-qualified experience (PQE) level, partly due to a reduction in the number of trainees being hired a few years ago, coupled with the increase in European regulations. 

Salary decreases

Accounting & Finance salaries will have a steady year in 2019, with no major increases or decreases expected – except for Financial Planning Analysts. FPA’s who are contracting can expect their rate per hour to decrease by up to -6% (£175 - £225 per hour). 

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