Silverbirch Maintenance Salary Survey

Role Longevity, Work/Life Balance Top The List!

Over 2015 we conducted a salary survey. With this survey, we aimed to provide an up-to-date representation of the Maintenance Engineer sector including qualifications, salaries, benefits and bonuses.

There has been very little research into the salary and career focus in the maintenance industry, despite this sector being vital to infrastructure. In addition, the talent deficit in this industry is quite striking, with the numbers of available positions outstripping the amount of qualified employees in this sector. In the current economy, it becomes vital for sector employees to have a benchmark for salary, qualifications and position, broken down by geography and specialization, in order to set fair salaries and know what to charge clients. With little historical data available, Silverbirch Resourcing plans to review the industry year-on-year to paint a rich picture of the maintenance sector.

Our survey showed a current average salary across all specializations for maintenance workers of £33,867pa. In the UK, the average salary was £29,780pa and in London average salary rested at £31,481pa. Dual trade and gas Engineers earned the highest (£38,500 and £37,400) followed by Electrical, Mechanical (£35,000) and the lowest was Plumbing (£22,000).  The overtime earned on top of basic salaries ranged from £1,000 to £30,000, representing anywhere from 2-30% of the annual salary.

The Commercial Offices, Finance, IT/Telecoms and Utilities sectors are the areas where engineers are more likely to achieve a salary in excess of the UK average.  The Finance sector pays the highest average salary with over 30% of sector respondents earning £60k+, whilst the Hotels, Pharmaceutical and Critical Services sectors can pay up to 83% less than Finance – a major gap in earnings. 14% of respondents outside of London fell into the lowest earnings bracket of £10-16,000pa, where inside London the largest earnings band was £24-26,000pa, or 61% more.

Over all respondents, the largest qualifications group was the City & Guilds. Overall, 37.1% of respondents held this qualification with 56.6% of London engineers holding one and 37.9% of those outside of London holding one.  The research shows a strong correlation between higher salaries and an Honours degree or equivalent qualification. In addition, chartered status also increased salary in the higher bands.

Our research also highlighted that although 26.58% of engineers are continuously striving to achieve higher earnings, 27.22% of the respondents looked first for a position with a better work life balance. A further 26.58% looked for career progression opportunities in their roles.

Candidate Mobility & Diversity

We surveyed respondents on the length of their current role and their motivations, if any, when seeking a new role. Over 35% of respondents have been in their role for four years or more, indicating a level of stability across the industry. There were also significant numbers of responses from those who had been in the role for less than a year, indicating the expansion of the field remains healthy.

By industry, Education/Healthcare/Government employees were more likely to remain in their roles for more than four years, with Hotels being a close second. The industry with the highest turnover was Finance, with Leisure a close second.

Geographically, London-based engineers were less likely to stay in a role than engineers employed elsewhere in the UK. Approximately 39% of London respondents had been in their role for less than a year, compared with 23% of UK respondents. Only 22% of the London respondents remained in a role for four years or more, where 43% of non-London respondents had been in their role for four years or more. This is representative of the rich opportunities available in London and the stability offered elsewhere in the country.

Candidates remain focused on work/life balance, career progression and salary when searching for new roles, which indicates the confidence in the sector held by candidates as they search for new opportunities.

Outlook for 2016

Growth in the industry remains strong across all sectors, with candidates exhibiting confidence about their roles and their career progression. Paths to education including on-the-job training, apprenticeships and practical courses continue to have the greatest impact on salaries both in and out of London. The skills deficit in UK-based talent means that additional labour is being brought in from outside of the UK to fill the roles as the industry continues to expand.

From the perspective of a recruiter, salaries remain reasonably static across the sector, possibly due to tighter margins with contracts. However, it is evident that the skills shortage impacts this industry, with fewer qualified employees for a growing number of skilled roles. Qualifications prove important, especially as they correlate to salary, and experience in a role affects the state of career progression from starter to director-level position. Employees and employers should consider the importance of a client-focused attitude, excellent communication skills and flexibility when considering an employee or a new role. For employees, gaining experience across multiple industries added to their personal value and their skill set, opening up further roles.

With work-life balance narrowly edging out salary and career progression in importance, companies that provide this flexibility to employees will be preferred to more restrictive roles. Well-defined career paths to management and supervisory training offer employees an additional incentive to work within an organization, allowing for career progression and upward mobility. Offering the right mixture of flexibility, career goals and salary will help employers attract the top industry talent and maximize their ability to get ahead during this shortage of skilled employees.

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