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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Workers want recognition

NUCLEAR industry workers want more recognition and support at work.

The 2010 McKenzie Douglas salary survey shows that many nuclear sector employees rank support and recognition in the workplace as high as salary and benefits.

Emma-Jayne Gooch, Recruitment Manager at energy headhunting firm McKenzie Douglas explains:

We know that the nuclear industry could be facing a major skills shortage in the next few years.

Typically, industry sectors facing skills shortages find salaries spiralling out of control as ‘supply and demand’ market forces impact the pool of available talent.

Will the west coast of Cumbria face these challenges? We wanted to find out how senior workers in the nuclear industry currently feel about their remuneration and set a benchmark for salary levels across the industry and understand what the UK nuclear market is paying.

Over the past three months we conducted a survey among a varied cross section of nuclear companies, large and small, to establish average salary and benefit packages in senior roles across the industry.

During this process we were able to interview employees to discover their attitudes to their remuneration and whether or not they felt adequately rewarded and valued in their current roles.

Support and recognition can be more important than the package

One of the most interesting results from our survey was that while most senior managers and directors believe themselves to be adequately rewarded in monetary terms, many feel largely unappreciated for the hard work and dedication they bring to the organisation.

One senior manager told us: “Compared to a lot of people in the UK we are well paid.

“However, I’d like some more recognition of the contribution my work makes to the overall business goals of the company. It’s important to know our work makes a difference.”

“I made the transition from contract to salary post three years ago and have found benefits such as training, progression and development that have been given would never have been offered as a contractor.

This has given me an opportunity to move up the management ladder and become a Chartered Engineer.”

Many senior staff confided that support and recognition were of greater importance than the overall basic salary and benefits packages.

This leads us on to another debate as to whether money is the most important thing in a job or is it having the recognition and being able to make a difference in an organisation?

In fact the findings tally with the theories of leading occupational psychologist Frederick Herzberg1, who identified the five key motivators for people at work as:

  • achievement
  • recognition,
  • the work itself
  • responsibility
  • opportunities for advancement

Herzberg maintained these five factors are the key to positive long-term effectiveness in job performance. Should the skills gap in the nuclear sector become a serious issue, employers will need to consider factors other than salary to keep their skilled staff motivated and loyal.

Job titles can be misleading…

Another key finding among the industry sector was that comparing salary to job titles across the industry can be very misleading.

Job titles are often ‘puffed up’ and in many situations we found that what a director does at one company can be quite different to that at another, even within the same industry and discipline.

Our findings show that in a number of cases the positions that offered the lowest base salaries offered the most potential for higher bonus.

The bonuses were all based on company and personal performance, were not guaranteed and came with the right to withdraw.

“I think I am underpaid and under recognised for the work I do. I work extremely hard putting in all hours to run the business and I do not get rewarded fairly either from a financial or recognition point of view.” – General Manager.

Pensions varied from final salary to four per cent contributory and a few companies offered no pension at all.

Life Assurance and Private medical for employee and family seem to be reserved for those at the most senior levels. The majority of companies offered either a car allowance or company car. Director level positions seem to provide a fully expensed vehicle.

“My salary is average, however I think the package is quite different and offers more holidays and a better pension than I would receive in other industries.” Senior Procurement Manager

“Pay rates in the nuclear industry are very attractive compared with other industries. I think we are duly rewarded especially as we are in the middle of a recession” EH&S Manager

Salary strain on a diminishing pool of highly skilled talent

In conclusion from the facts and comments gathered I think it is fair to say within Nuclear, as in all industry, some people do feel they are very well rewarded where as others feel they are undervalued. However, as the country moves out or recession more private sector engineering projects will place an even greater strain on an already diminishing pool of highly skilled talent.

This shortage could have a dramatic impact on salary levels as companies fight it out to attract the best talent. While this may be fine for large companies who can afford to pay the highest salary levels, it may prove very difficult for smaller engineering firms to compete

Job Title Basic Salary Bonus scheme Benefits
Managing Director £80,000 - £150,000 Bonus of between 15 -50% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Director £60,000 - £85,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Engineering Manager £53,000 - £72,500 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Engineering Director £75,000 - £90,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Principal Engineer £45,000 - £58,000 Bonus 15% Pension
Commercial Manager £55,000 - £65,000 Bonus 15% Pension, car allowance, private medical
Commercial Director £70,000 - £98,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Bid Manager £50,000 - £65,000 Bonus 15% Pension, car allowance, private medical
Senior Quantity Surveyor £45,000 - £58,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Senior Cost Specialist £43,000 - £55,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Procurement Manager £55,00 - £75,000 Bonus 15% Pension, car allowance, private medical
Contract Manager £55,000 - £60,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
General Manager £65,000 - £75,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Business Development Manager £48,000 - £63,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car and pension
Business Development Director £70,000 - £80,000 Bonus of between 10 -50% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Safety Case Specialist £45,000 - £75,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Technical Manager £45,000 - £55,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Technical Director £55,000 - £85,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Project Manager £45,000 - £54,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Senior Project Manager £50,000 - £62,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Project Director £70,000 - £125,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Operations Manager £70,000 - £125,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Operations Director £80,000 - £100,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Senior Project Controls £45,000 - £55,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical
Programme Manager £60,000 - £75,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Pension, car allowance, private medical
Project Director £81,000 - £87,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medicalEH&S
Manager £38,000 - £57,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Pension and car allowance
Senior Quality Assurance £38,000 - £57,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Pension and car allowance
Manager £40,000 - £55,000 N/A Pension and car allowance
Design Manager £45,000 - £55,000 Bonus 15% Pension, car allowance, private medical
Risk Management £40,000 - £85,000 Bonus of between 10 -35% Company car, pension, life assurance, private medical

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