EMPLOYEES in Yorkshire are among the happiest in the UK with their pay, according to new research from recruiter Randstad.
Nearly half – 48 per cent – of employees in the region claim to being happy with the pay they receive.
This is higher than the 42 per cent of UK workers as a whole who are happy with their pay, suggesting that a lack of job security in the region could be holding employees back from demanding greater remuneration.
Unemployment in Yorkshire and Humber is higher than the UK average and rising, according to the Office of National Statistics.
This represents 9 per cent of the workforce in Yorkshire and the Humber, an increase from the previous quarter and higher than the UK average of 8 per cent.
Randstad said there are strong regional variations in happiness with current pay across the country.
For instance, in the East Midlands, where unemployment is below the national average, only 36 per cent of employees are happy with their current pay, said Randstad, which polled 2,000 professionals.
Meanwhile, competitive pay and benefits are the most important requirement of a new employee, while job security, the top factor for the past three years, has fallen to third place, said Randstad.
The shift in priorities is likely to have been influenced by the steady rise in the number of working age people in employment.
The figure has risen from 29.1m people in 2011, to 29.5m people in 2012, to 29.7m at the start of 2013, according to the ONS.
In 2012, 27 per cent of people said long-term job security was the most important factor in choosing to work for a specific company – more than any other issue.
But this has now fallen to 16 per cent, the lowest it has been in three years. Meanwhile, 18 per cent of respondents said a competitive salary and employee benefits was the most important factor in picking an employer, compared to only 11 per cent last year.
Stephen Lockwood, manager of Randstad’s financial and professional services business in Leeds, said: “2012 was a tough year for the job market. That was reflected in people’s priorities – salary packages weren’t as important to potential employees as the financial health of a business.
“But over the course of the last twelve months, that’s changed in most parts of the UK, where the workforce appears more bullish in demanding better salaries and benefits.
“However in Yorkshire and the Humber, unemployment levels have increased slightly so many employees are happy to hold on to their jobs, regardless of pay.
“Having said this, we’ve noticed high demand for specific jobs in the financial and professional services sectors.
“With skills shortages intensifying as the UK’s restrictive migration policies take hold, employers need to work harder to attract potential candidates who are being less moderate in their salary expectations than they have been for years. It’s no longer enough to rely on rock solid financials if you want to attract top talent.”
Mr Lockwood added: “Looking at the UK as a whole, people are becoming less sanguine about their current pay as unemployment falls.
“That’s what’s happening in areas including Scotland and the East Midlands.
“At the opposite end of the spectrum are regions such as Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands, the North West and Northern Ireland – where unemployment is above the national average – and workers say they are happier about their pay.”