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Offering the Right Salary to Your New Hire

​A skills shortage within the Automotive Engineering industry in the UK is set to be an unfortunate ongoing trend through 2023. In such a climate, top Automotive Engineers have their pick of roles, so offering the right salary is imperative to secure them.

There’s a fine art to offering the right salary. Set it too low and you risk losing your ideal candidate to a competitor. Set it too high and you might feel the financial ramifications of overspending and harm your budget.

To help you strike the right balance, consider the following advice when deciding on your salary offer.

1. Understand the Market and Business Conditions

Any good engineering project begins with a proper reconnaissance phase, and setting the right salary for your open Automotive Engineering position is no different.

Begin by gaining an understanding of general market rates. According to The Engineer Salary Survey 2021/22, the average Automotive Engineer salary is £57,996. Junior Automotive Engineers average £35,900 and Senior Automotive Engineers and Managers typically earn £52,863, while Directors take home around £98,103. Those with expertise in IT command £62,500 on average, which is no surprise given the rise of autonomous driving. It’s also interesting to note that the UK automotive sector boasts salaries 14% higher than the national average.

As these figures are generalised from the last financial year, it’s good to do your research into current market conditions. As you do, keep the following questions in mind:

  1. What’s a fair asking rate for similar open positions?

  2. Do the rates differ in my specific geographic area (i.e. city-based or regional)?

  3. What’s the current supply of candidates who have the specific skills I need?

You can use job search websites, industry associations and salary surveys to source this intel, but partnering with a specialist Automotive Engineering recruitment agency instead can save you significant time and money.

A recruiter’s key responsibility is to keep pace with industry trends. This includes:

  • Sourcing the most up-to-date salary rates

  • Salary benchmarking

  • Sharing the latest candidate supply and demand figures

  • Understanding what top talent want in new roles

Once you have completed your market survey, the next step to help you set your salary rates is to look within.

What can your business afford to offer? Factor in current operating conditions as well as future projections. As you get closer to coming up with your dollar figure, consider whether you will be able to sustain this over a long period, being sure to account for inevitable increases in line with inflation.

2. Go Beyond The € Figure

As you move through your research phase, you might discover you’re lagging behind your competitors. Should this be the case, there are additional benefits you can include in your salary package to account for this.

From our industry survey, here are the top benefits Automotive Engineering candidates look for when considering a job offer.

Flexible working conditions

According to The Engineer Salary Survey, flexible working remains high on the priority list for Engineers. Over 45% of engineering professionals have access to flexible working, with the Automotive sector slightly behind at 36%.

Given the nature of Automotive Engineering, it can be difficult to offer certain employees work-from-home options. However, there are alternatives, such as allowing staff to choose their start and finish times or working a compressed week.

Professional development

According to The Engineer survey, just over one in three Automotive Engineers feel valued in their role. One of the best ways to address this is to invest in the professional development of employees.

Creating a clear progression pathway with individual career goals exponentially increases the chance workers will remain with you.

Progression pathways should include milestones aligned to professional development opportunities. This can include internal and external training, mentorship and job shadowing and a commitment to promote from within. Undertaking regular progress reviews can help your employees remain on track.

Benefits and bonuses

Over half of those surveyed in The Engineer report were on bonus schemes (50.5%), with 85% receiving a bonus in the past 12 months. However, the pay-out figure is much lower in Automotive Engineering at 38%.

Key benefit options from the same survey are contributory pension schemes (74%), private medical insurance (38%) and extra paid leave entitlements (an astronomical 91%).

When considering bonuses and benefits, ensure they’re sustainable, both now and in the future.

3. Win-Win Negotiation

Once you’ve extended your salary offer, you’ll either encounter an acceptance, a rejection you’re your candidate might have received a counteroffer. In these latter two scenarios, you could find yourself negotiating with a candidate.

If the counter-figure is within the ballpark of your initial offer, it might be in your best interests to move towards it, especially given the talent-short environment. In the case of a rejection, attempt to ascertain the cause. If it’s salary-related, you can begin negotiations.

Should the figure reach an untenable position, be honest about your budget constraints. Discuss the non-monetary perks you can offer, such as flexible working, professional development or benefits and bonuses. If appropriate to your business, let the candidate know this is a starting salary and increases or promotions are available dependent on performance.

There’s always a chance you won’t reach a salary agreement. If so, it’s better to diplomatically bow out of the negotiation process, thank them for their time and move on to your second choice.

Further Support With Setting the Right Salary

When you consider that close to half (46%) of UK Automotive Engineers are considering changing jobs, spending time curating your salary offer can earn you the reward of securing top candidates.

It’s a somewhat tricky task with several variables to account for, from understanding current market rates and what candidates want, to successfully negotiating to get that all-important ‘yes’.

To secure the best candidates, you can rely on the expertise of an Automotive Engineering recruitment agency, such as our specialists here at Fields and Rudd. Connect with our team to find out how we can help you set the right salary for your new hire and entice them to say yes.