East Riding Council struggling to recruit architects, engineers, surveyors and children's services staff - yet pays below-average salaries

East Riding Council is launching a pay review after research showed some staff are earning salaries below public sector averages while a director said some posts were vacant for “months”.

Beverley

East Riding Council corporate resources director Darren Stevens said officials decided to launch the Total Pay and Reward Strategy to aid the recruitment and retention of “highly skilled” staff.

The director added some vacancies had taken “many months” to fill, with difficulties in finding staff seen for specialist roles including engineers, architects and for adults and children’s services posts.

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It comes as Mr Stevens asked the council’s cabinet to back launching the review in a meeting on Tuesday, July 6.

Cabinet members agreed to launch the review but the director told them it was estimated to cost around £2m and would involve hiring an external company to help.

Mr Stevens said the council felt the review would help it better compete for staff with other local authorities, public bodies and the private sector.

He added the rural nature of the East Riding and the council competing with those in cities and other market factors had made recruitment “challenging”.

The director said: “As a local authority, we deliver more than 600 vitally important public services that protect the vulnerable, promote healthy lifestyles, grow the economy and value the environment as well as delivering services and education provision in our local schools that helps children and young people achieve.

“It is therefore important that a Pay and Reward Strategy is in place that supports the recruitment and retention of a highly-skilled workforce, enables career progression and development and incentivises strong performance.

“In terms of recruitment challenges the council faces, some vacancies can have to be advertised on a number of occasions in order to find the right candidate, often taking many months and in turn puts pressure on day-to-day service delivery while recruitment takes place.

“Some of the areas that the council finds challenging to recruit to are in specialised roles such as engineering, architecture, surveying or in vitally important sectors like children’s services and adult services that support some of the most vulnerable people in the East Riding.

“The council is often in competition with other public sector organisations and the private sector in trying to recruit staff.

“Research undertaken by the council shows that some salary levels at the organisation are below the public sector median, regionally.

“A Total Pay and Reward Strategy would help address some of these issues by looking at the issue of pay, but of equal importance are the factors of reward which include learning and development, succession planning, and our wider terms and conditions offer which in themselves are workforce motivators and in turn support effective performance and improved outcomes for the communities we serve.”