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Salary and Salary Alone?

At the recent Manchester Digital’s skills festival, I attended a workshop about the city’s digital salaries and rewards. What stood out from the discussion was the belief amongst Manchester’s digital employers that they have to routinely offer far greater salaries to remain attractive.

From the festivals skills audit 47% of the surveyed Manchester digital businesses have had to inflate salaries to remain competitive. The majority of these salary increases were for developers and digital marketers who consistently receive above average pay rises.

This means nearly half of Manchester’s digital business are paying way over the top salaries just to be in business and to compete for top talent. There was clear agreement from the workshop panel that these annual salary inflations should not and cannot continue any longer for clear economic reasons.

To combat this growing concern various “added value” packages were discussed that have halted or at the very least slowed salary inflation. From the panel and the audience, it was palpably clear that a more rounded approach to salary and reward was the key.

Do we work for salary alone in Brighton?

Here in Brighton conversations about unsustainable salary inflation is nothing new. But is the digital workforce of Brighton like Manchester really entirely focussed on the highest basic salary possible?

Having spoken to a selection of our members, it would appear Brighton has been ahead of the game in this respect, with the continuing trend of businesses offering more value to a role, as well as increasing personal benefits and work-life flexibility to attract and retain employees.

A local selection of these being:

  • Flexible working hours and ability to work remotely
  • Set learning and development times
  • Monthly personal development days
  • Peer to peer mentoring
  • Mindfulness sessions
  • An understanding that life sometimes gets in the way of actual work

Some might see the above points as obvious additions to yielding a healthy and happy team, but it would seem that there are still quite a number of digital businesses in Brighton that are reticent about offering these benefits to their existing and future employees. It can be quite easy to believe that Brighton, with its laid-back lifestyle and creative industries, naturally accepts these value-added benefits and perhaps a lot more. This approach, however, needs to be more widely discussed.

With our own Talent2018 digital skills festival coming up in June, this question of ‘what else can we offer our employees’ needs to be addressed for the benefit of Brighton’s digitals growth.

With this in mind I would like our members to consider the below question:

Are you resigned to paying inflated salaries to attract and retain your staff, or are you offering a diverse and more personal package plus a salary to make your company attractive to prospective employees? If you have any thoughts on this please get in touch –

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James Brooklyn

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