Shop assistants, nurses and teachers are among the unhappiest workers in the UK when it comes to their pay, according to a survey that highlights widespread dissatisfaction after years of falling real wages.
Ministers have seized on news that average pay growth is now faster than inflation, but behind the headline numbers there is still plenty of evidence many households are not feeling any better.
Averages only tell part of the story and it is no surprise that a survey from jobs search engine Adzuna highlights as unhappiest those workers in the squeezed public sector as well as retail and hospitality, both sectors that have come under fire for low pay and the use of zero-hour contracts.
Consultants are the happiest profession, on the other hand, with just one in five voicing complaints about their annual earnings. Workers in the technology and manufacturing sectors were also among the most content, according the poll of some 1,000 UK workers.
Retail - 65% dissatisfied with current pay
Legal - 63% dissatisfied with current pay
Hospitality & Catering - 59% dissatisfied with current pay
Healthcare & Nursing - 51% dissatisfied with current pay
Teaching & Education - 50% dissatisfied with current pay
Consultancy - 20% dissatisfied with current pay
Manufacturing - 36% dissatisfied with current pay
IT & technology - 40% dissatisfied with current pay
HR & Recruitment - 46% dissatisfied with current pay
Charity & Non-profit - 47% dissatisfied with current pay
Unsurprisingly, after the longest squeeze on real pay for decades, the survey found more than half (52%) of Britain’s employees were unhappy with their pay. A mere 3% are completely satisfied with their current salary level.
But Adzuna, which says it has come up with a way for people to calculate their “market value”, suggests now is a good time to ask for a pay rise.
Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter says:
Wages have been stagnant and consistently lagging behind inflation. That said, our data suggests that employers across the country are starting to lift the lid on rates of pay.
The picture from the search engine’s vacancies and salary data echoes the latest official figures showing that annual wages increased by an average of 1.8% in the year to November, the fastest pace for two years.
That means wages were also finally rising faster than inflation, meaning pay rises in real terms. But again, behind the average numbers, the picture is uneven and varies by region as well as profession.
The survey suggests the most dissatisfied workers are based in the east of England, where almost two-thirds of those surveyed felt underpaid. That was closely followed by the East Midlands and Scotland. Employees in the south-west were happiest with their pay, followed by the north-west and London.
For anyone contemplating a change of career to secure higher pay, Adzuna has also compiled a list of sectors with the fastest-rising wages and the slowest.
Biggest improvements in pay over the last 12 months:
(change in average advertised salary in year to January)
Trade & Construction Jobs +10.4%
Scientific Jobs +10.3%
IT Jobs +10.2%
Manufacturing Jobs +8.4%
Sales Jobs +8.1%
Sectors seeing stagnation / falls in pay over the last 12 months:
Hospitality & Catering Jobs -2.1%
Energy, Oil & Gas Jobs -0.55%
PR & Marketing Jobs -0.44%
HR Jobs -1.1%
Healthcare & Nursing Jobs 0%
This article was written by Katie Allen, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th January 2015 15.31 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010