Salary survey indicates NI industries face widespread talent drain

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  • Findings from the latest salary survey from Brightwater Group have shown that Northern Ireland is a candidate’s market, as employers compete for best-in-class talent.

    The annual survey is based on data taken from over 800 respondents including employers and candidates across a range of sectors as well as data taken from in excess of over 1250 job placements and is undertaken by Brightwater throughout the year.

    The upturns in salary point to skill shortages in key sectors such as accounting and construction as well as a shift in mindset among NI employers who are focused on growth - and as a result, are investing in roles they see as fundamental to achieving this.

    Marketing salaries continue to remain largely the same, however roles with an online, technology and digital bias continue to show an upturn - with salary rises of up to 30% since last year in roles such as E-commerce Manager and SEO Specialist. The survey says this is a result of businesses seeking to enhance their online presence and exploit digital trade options against the backdrop of Brexit. 

    The biggest salary jump since the 2017 survey was for in-house Head of Legals, signalling a huge sea change as local business bring their legal needs in-house and turn away from retained legal counsel. With up to a 40% increase on last year’s salary, Heads of Legal are in a very strong position. 

    Significantly, the rise of alternative legal services continues to shake up the local legal job market. Managerial roles in the accountancy sector, specifically for Payroll and Credit Control have risen by 20 and 40% respectively, signalling a shortage emerging in the market, which will result in stern competition for candidates.

    HR remains key within management structures but the most intriguing change in salaries in this sector is with engagement and attraction roles. A relatively new stand-alone role, Talent Acquisition Managers are enjoying more than an 8% salary increase than they were in 2017 – hinting at a realisation among employers that failing to invest in talent is the number one barrier to growth.

    Likewise, rewarding and retaining good employees is paramount, which is why Compensation and Benefits Managers are seeing a 10+% salary increase.

    Growth in the area of Supply Chain continues as salaries across procurement roles rise above the rate of inflation (25%) as the requirement to maximise savings and adapt to volatile exchange rates in response to continued global political uncertainty.

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