Credit: William Warby

Workers are now driven by pay over job security

As the dark days of the recession fade, British workers want better pay.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 04 Aug 2015

As Britain struggled to haul itself out of recession a few years ago, workers’ number one concern was, perhaps unsurprisingly, job security. But with the economy recovering it seems the tide has turned: when choosing a company to work for, what employees really want now is to be well paid.

More than 20% of employees chose a competitive salary as their top factor when deciding to work for a company, according to a survey of 10,728 people by recruiter Randstad. Back in 2011, pay languished in fourth place – behind having an interesting job and a nice working atmosphere.

It’s a slight dip from last year, when 21% of people surveyed said wages was their concern numero uno. But it’s still a significant increase from the 11% who said that in 2012, when the economy grew just 0.2%.

Randstad claimed it was people who had entered the workforce in the last three years driving the change towards being motivated by higher wages. But the data it cited wasn’t exactly overwhelming: of people who had recently changed jobs, 31% of 18-24 year-olds said low pay was one of the reasons they decided to up sticks, only just higher than the 29% of all respondents.

It seems more likely, then, that people in general are now feeling comfortable enough in the labour market to start wanting and demanding higher salaries, after years of real wage stagnation since the financial crisis. With companies complaining about skills shortages in many areas, the pendulum may well be swinging back in favour of workers.

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