Morgan McKinley UK Salary Guide 2016

UK Salary Survey Guise 2016

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Challenging Economic Conditions

2015 proved to be a mixed year, with H1 showing signs of a strong recovery and overall positive sentiment, however, we witnessed a downturn during the summer months, where both national and international events started to impact many of the major global economies.

The UK’s economy has outpaced many of its peers during recent times, with it growing by 2.2% in 2015, albeit down from 2.9% in the previous year. The second half of 2015 was particularly challenged, namely with the continual threat of increasing interest rates, the continual uncertainty and impact of a Brexit, the free fall of global commodities prices, the continued pressure within Asian markets, and a dire UK manufacturing performance from weaker export demand.

A survey conducted by Deloitte showed that UK CFO confidence dipped to levels not seen since 2012, as global macro-economic conditions started to set in. This has therefore lead to CFOs looking to cut costs, which in turn has resulted in the de-leveraging and disposing of assets, thus leading to major redundancy announcements and restrictions around hiring new talent. 

‎In contrast to the above, Ann Swain, CEO at APSCo said:
“2015 was a strong year for the UK recruitment sector, with 83% of consultancies surveyed for the APSCo Deloitte Recruitment Index reporting an increase in net fee income. Despite global fears surrounding oil prices and China’s slowdown, I am confident that the UK economy will continue to grow, providing favourable conditions for the professional recruitment market meaning that this trend looks set to continue over the coming months.”

Discipline Specific Demand

Despite major redundancies being announced by many organisations across a number of sectors within the UK, there were specific areas of the market that still demonstrated a continued need for talent. There has been a requirement for permanent hiring within Project and Change Management which has seen high demand in strategic programmes concerned with rationalising systems infrastructure, and delivering high-quality data reporting capabilities. This is with a view to upcoming regulatory requirements.


Similarly, companies are hiring specialists whose functions are related to improving processes, streamlining businesses, structural reforms, data capture and cost cutting. So technologists have been in, and continue to be, in high demand. This is particularly the case in the fields of big data, software engineering and FinTech. This is a long-term trend and one that can provide handsome compensation packages if professionals hold the right skill set. 
Tech City report that there are over 1.46m people in digital employment all around the country and 15% of companies formed in the UK between 2013-14 were digital. Tech Nation shows people employed by digital companies in the UK is set to grow by 5.4% by 2020, which is higher than projected total job growth. Some 74% of UK digital businesses are also now based outside of London. 

Research conducted by Oxford Economics suggests that over the next ten years the number of digital technology companies in London is expected to rise to 45,000 and create more than £12 billion of economic activity. This sector has been especially under the spotlight in the last two years and is buoyed by healthy investment flows meaning there are lots of jobs available. Companies focused on big data, data analytics, payments and crowdfunding are seeing some of the biggest growth.
If we look back a few years, many firms projected digital marketing as an area to invest in to stay ahead of the curve so that their competitors didn’t gain an early advantage. Today, digital marketers are really proving their worth with cleverly constructed websites which provide new channels and avenues for content, brand and tailored communications. The increased reliance on online content is giving rise to digital product managers, who oversee the process of bringing new online products to market, from inception to launch, including managing complex marketing campaigns.

From a Financial Services perspective, growth in employment has been seen in disciplines such as accounting and finance, compliance, risk management and internal audit in response to the growing burden of regulations and diminished appetite for risk. Those operating in an environment with exposure to policies, procedures and controls, will find themselves in a more attractive position for a promotion or increased remuneration packages. It is a simple case of demand and supply. The demand for regulation knowledge is high, with the knowledge supply in the UK becoming more limited; it pays to be up-to-date with regulation and sourcebooks.


Salaries have steadily increased over the last two years, particularly in regulatory driven areas where base salaries have been inflated. This is due to the demand of certain skill sets outweighing their availability. This has been further exacerbated by many organisations having to compete with one another for the best talent, and the most skilled candidates often finding themselves having a choice of multiple offers. 

On top of this, back in 2013 when the European Banking Authority (EBA) imposed bonus caps of 100% of basic salary and 200% with shareholder approval to those working within the larger, more riskier financial services institutions, this has resulted in fixed pay progressively increasing to compensate. The trend for those looking to change jobs to improve their total remuneration package is beginning to seep back in the market, whereas previously, diversity in the role, career progression and work/life balance had begun to dictate a lot of the reasons why many looked to move. 

According to Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor, the average salary change within the London Financial Services market during 2015, was 19%. That meant someone could expect, on average, a 19% increase in salary by moving from one organisation to another. We predict that over the next 12 months salary increases will remain high, probably around the 15-20% mark. 

The same is true for those contracting in the regulatory space or areas that have seen phenomenal growth over the last 24 months, namely Compliance, Projects and Change Management and Technology. Unlike the permanent market however, we predict rates to only move by around 5-10%. It is worth noting that there has been a noticeable increase in permanent employees considering contract opportunities, despite the longer notice period. Employers are more open to considering someone with a four week notice period, particularly if their skill set is in niche supply. Organisations are also working hard to retain their contractors by imposing 12 month tenures so to offer longevity in their position.

There has been a trend for businesses to hire compensation and benefits specialists to retain and source the best professionals for their businesses.



Optimism in the UK continues to be cautious, as macroeconomic factors continue to affect decision making for many organisations. The broad economic forecast for global growth is continuing to indicate that 2016 will be a bumpy ride, with a risk of economic instability. London itself, faces an obstacle filled journey, particularly with house prices increasing, job losses within banking and financial services, and organisations looking to onshore various divisions to more cost effective locations across the UK. Across South West England and the Home Counties, we expect to see demand across all disciplines, with the salary gap slowly narrowing with the Capital’s. This allows relocation to other parts of the UK more palatable as those leaving London are not necessarily as financially worse off.

Your thoughts

I would like to personally thank all those involved in compiling this salary guide. Firstly, the consultants at Morgan McKinley who dedicate their time to understand their respective communities and ensure everyone receives the service they deserve. Also, to the thousands of candidates and clients we communicate with, who each year provide valuable input so that we are able to offer the market comprehensive guides on rates and salaries.

We welcome any feedback or questions that you have regarding its contents. Please do not hesitate to contact me for more detailed information.

Hakan Enver
Operations Director, London
+44 20 7092 0105



2016 Salary Guide


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