Demand for key personnel across a range of industry sectors in Eastern England is on the rise but employers are frustrated by a perceived skills deficit, according to a survey.

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New-found confidence among businesses is driving “modest” rises in wages across the board, with “spectacular gains” for some, the 2014 Cooper Lomaz Recruitment Salary Survey has found.

Suffolk employers are looking well beyond county boundaries to fill senior posts vital to firms’ acceleration plans, says the Bury St Edmunds-based recruitment firm, whose own business is booming.

The survey, which provides a regional barometer of employment and remuneration trends, found that vacancies are drawing candidates attracted by the lower cost of livingfrom London and beyond.

The firm, which also has offices in Lowestoft and Norwich, saw its own revenues rise by 20% in 2013 and expects similar growth in 2014.

Operations director Mark Fletcher said: “We have taken on 11 new consultants in the past year and anticipate we will increase our staffing levels by a similar number in the coming 12 months.”

But finding recruits with the right skills is a challenge for employers, he said.

“There are a lot more jobs around. The big challenge for us is to find people with the skill sets our clients are looking for,” he said.

“Employers are displaying more confidence in planning for the future, but many are frustrated by the lack of candidates with the niche skills they need to drive those plans forward.”

The big earnings winners are those with niche skills in engineering, information technology or energy or those with a wider more commercial or strategic skills base, particularly in the areas of accountancy and marketing – but employers are searching long and hard to find them, according to the study.

“The 2014 salary survey findings are a positive endorsement of the buoyancy of the East Anglian jobs market that there are a lot of quality positions paying good salaries which need filling,” said Mr Fletcher.

The trend is expected to continue as long-awaited trunk road improvements develop, including a fully-dualled A11 which is due to open during 2014, speedier rail links and faster broadband speeds.

“Faster transport links will also mean it is easier for people to travel between regional centres to work,” said Mr Fletcher.

Where employers are unable to fill permanent positions, they are increasingly prepared to turn to contract staff, the study reveals.

Salaries continue to be markedly higher in Cambridgeshire and those parts of Essex nearer to London – although in many cases the gap is narrowing.

The sectors which present the biggest challenge are food manufacturing and the supply chain, where profit margins have long been squeezed by pressure from supermarkets, resulting in lower wages, the survey found.

“The jobs are there but they are not paying as much as some other sectors. More needs to be done to establish apprenticeships and encourage graduates into the industry,” said Mr Fletcher.

One of the “boom” areas for recruitment in Suffolk and Norfolk is the oil, gas and renewables sector, where candidates with marketable skills have enjoyed steady increases in salary levels.

However, there is more caution in the Renewables sector which is sensitive to government policy, particularly with regard to nuclear power and uncertainty has affected investment and therefore salaries.

Typical sample salaries taken from the Cooper Lomaz Salary Survey 2014 are as follows:

Accountancy – Commerce and Industry: Bookkeeper: Norfolk £18k-25k, Suffolk £18k-22k, Cambridgeshire £18k-23k, Essex £18k-23k; Payroll Manager: Norfolk £22k-29k, Suffolk £22k-308k, Cambridgeshire £25k-40k, Essex £22k-30k; Financial Analyst: Norfolk £25k-45k, Suffolk £25k-45k, Cambridgeshire £30k-50k, Essex £28k-45k; Financial Director: Norfolk £60k-100k, Suffolk £60k-100k, Cambridgeshire £60k-110k, Essex £60k-100k.

Accountancy – The Profession: Graduate: Norfolk £14k-16k: Suffolk £12k-18k, Cambridgeshire £12k-26k, Essex £12k-22k; ACCA Newly Qualified: Norfolk £23k-28k, Suffolk £22k-28k, Cambridgeshire £22k-34k, Essex £24k-34k; Assistant Manager: Norfolk £30k-38k, Suffolk £30k-42k, Cambridgeshire £30k-42k, Essex £34k-52k; Principal or Director: Norfolk £50k-70k: Suffolk £50k-75k, Cambridgeshire £65k-85k, Essex £60k-85k.

Engineering: Graduate Engineer: Norfolk £18k-26k, Suffolk £19k-24k, Cambridgeshire £20k-28k, Essex £20k-28k; Manufacturing Engineer: Norfolk £30k-45k, Suffolk £30k-45k, Cambridgeshire £30k-50k, Essex £35k-50k; Engineering/Design Manager: Norfolk £40k-50k, Suffolk £40k-50k, Cambridgeshire £40k-60k, Essex £40k-55k; Operations Director: Norfolk £65k-85k, Suffolk £65k-85k, Cambridgeshire £60k-100k, Essex £60k-100k.

Food Manufacturing: Production Manager: Norfolk £30k-45k, Suffolk £30k-45, Cambridgeshire £30k-45k, Essex £35k-45k; Development Chef: Norfolk £18k-25k, Suffolk £18k-25k, Cambridgeshire £18k-25k, Essex £18k-25k; Hygiene Manager: Norfolk £28k-40k, Suffolk £28k-40k, Cambridgeshire £28k-40k, Essex £28k-40k; Health and Safety Officer: Norfolk £20k-30k, Suffolk £20k-30k, Cambridgeshire £20k-30k, Essex £20k-30k.

Information Technology: Business Analyst: Norfolk £25k-55k, Suffolk £28k-60k, Cambridgeshire £35k-65k, Essex £25k-60k; Head of IT: Norfolk £50k-85k, Suffolk £50k-85k, Cambridgeshire £55k-90k, Essex £60k-90k; Network Engineer: Norfolk £25k-65k, Suffolk £25k-65k, Cambridgeshire £25k-55k, Essex £25k-65k; Mobile Developer: Norfolk £25k-50k, Suffolk £30k-52k, Cambridgeshire £25k-55k, Essex £30k-55k.

Oil, Gas & Renewable Energy: Piping (all areas) £25k-70k; Construction/Installation (all areas) £30k-130k; Reservoir/Petroleum Engineering (all areas) £35k-125k; Technical Safety (all areas) £35k-70k; Maintenance (all areas) £23k-65k; Business Development (all areas) £27k-85k

Sales and Marketing: Marketing Assistant/Co-ordinator: Norfolk £20k-25k, Suffolk £18k-24k, Cambridgeshire £20k-25k, Essex £18k-25k; PR Executive: Norfolk £20k-30k, Suffolk £20k-30k, Cambridgeshire £20k-30k, Essex £20k-30k; Digital Account Manager: Norfolk £30k-40k, Suffolk £30k-40k, Cambridgeshire £30k-40k, Essex £30k-40k; Social Media Manager: Norfolk £25k-45k, Suffolk £25k-35k, Cambridgeshire £25k-45k, Essex £25k-45k;

Supply Chain: Production Planner: Norfolk £25k-30k, Suffolk £25k-30k, Cambridgeshire £25k-35k, Essex £25k-35k; Transport Manager: Norfolk £30k-35k, Suffolk £30k-36k, Cambridgeshire £30k-40k,Essex £30k-40k; Stock Controller: Norfolk £18k-24k, Suffolk £18k-25k, Cambridgeshire £18k-25k, Essex £18k-25k; Purchasing Manager (CIPS): Norfolk £35k-45k, Suffolk £35k-45k, Cambridgeshire £35k-50k, Essex £35k-50k.

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