Salaries rise quickly for UK manufacturing sector employees
New figures from manufacturers’ organisation EEF show that pay in the manufacturing sector is ticking upwards.
The manufacturing sector has experienced a resurgence as the UK recovers from the financial crisis. Even at a time when concern is high about the cost of living and the pace of wage inflation, manufacturers have managed to buck the trend with more promising salary data published on Tuesday, 26 August.
Figures from manufacturers’ organisation Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) show that the average pay settlement in the six months between February and July stood at 2.6 per cent – a healthy figure that remains comfortably above the average increase in wages across the UK as a whole. It’s also an improvement on the 2.4 per cent rise reported over the same period last year.
Where pay freezes and deferments have been in place at some companies, the pressure seems to have eased.
The three-month average freeze in July was 6.4 per cent – a marked reduction from the 14.6 per cent reported in the same month in 2013.
EEF says that times have been tough for the sector in the past few years, and employees are finally being rewarded for this efforts through such a difficult period. With two major negotiating periods still to go before the next general election, it looks as though manufacturers may see wages edge further upwards in the next year. That will come as industrial relations change, and trade unions think less about staving off redundancies and more about getting a better deal for members.
“Business across the sector has clearly been on the up but this new post-recession landscape is, however, presenting employers with a new set of challenges in managing relationships with their employees,” says EEF national head of employment and industrial relations.
But it’s more than that – many workers are likely to be rewarded for specialist skills that are becoming much harder to find in the current jobs market.
With skills shortages looming in key sectors, manufacturers are likely to find themselves offering higher salaries to attract and retain the talent they need to function.
EEF acknowledges that this is already happening.
The government has been trying to rebalance the economy in favour of domestic production and exports. Manufacturing was always going to be a significant part of that plan. Businesses across the sector are passing on their improved circumstances to employees, it seems this is one area of the economy where recovery is definitely gaining ground.