Average annual salary of young professionals and middle managers

29 April 2016 Consultancy.uk

Young professionals and middle managers in the UK have, over the past year, respectively earned €37,000 and €97,700 on average. Compared to other European countries, the UK takes the 12th spot for young professional pay and the 4spot for middle manager pay. Switzerland offers the best bet for earning big euros in Europe.

Each year, the HR consulting arm of Willis Towers Watson, a global professional services firm, conducts research into the salaries and working conditions of over 50 different professional functions. The study, titled ‘Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report’, is carried out in 60 countries around the world, through which comparisons can be made between regions, countries and functions.

Young professionals
An analysis of the latest data, which builds on the average salaries and working conditions in 2015, shows that young professionals in Switzerland earn as much as 2.5 times that of their colleagues in the UK. With an average annual salary of more than €92,000, Swiss young professionals – defined by the study as graduates on the labour market with 0-1 years of work experience – earn by far the most in Europe. Following, remotely, in second and third place are Denmark and Luxembourg, with average salaries of over €56,500 and €53,000 per year respectively.

The UK tales the 12th spot on the young professionals ranking in Europe, with an average salary of slightly more than €37,000 per year. The UK finds itself just above France, with around €36,900, and just behind the Irish, who garner around €37,400. Spain closes the list of European countries – in the Southern European country, young professionals can on average expect a salary of around €28,900 per year.

Middle managers
In terms of the average annual salary for middle managers, the UK performs considerably better, coming in the 4th spot, taking home an average of almost €97,700. This puts UK middle manager professionals on slightly less than their German counterparts, at €99,000, but considerably more than that of their French counterparts, at €77,900. It is notable that professionals in the UK, on average, go on to earn much more earn as they continue to climb in rank; at the middle rung they earn over 260% of the average annual salary of a young professional.

The Swiss again take the top spot – middle managers in the small mountainous country earn an average of €159,300 per year. The Swiss in fact score highest across all levels in an organisation’s hierarchy, and in most cases, there is even a difference of 20% or more with the numbers two. “That means that Swiss workers, taking into account their tax system and cost of living, have a higher purchasing power than other Europeans,” the researchers said.

Does this mean everyone should be look for employment in, for example, Zurich, Geneva or Basel? Not necessarily, says Tom Hellier, UK Practice Lead Rewards at Willis Towers Watson. "We know from our research that base pay is pivotal for keeping employees engaged at work." But, he says, graduates are, for instance, increasingly interested in non-financial elements in contracts, such as learning and development programmes and flexible-work arrangements.

For organisations, this means that they should, accordingly, keep up their strategic efforts in the areas of recruitment and talent management. “Employers therefore are advised to look at the total package of what they can offer. This is crucial to remain competitive to in a tightening labour market,” concludes Hellier.

* Amounts relate to basic salary including include holiday pay and are calculated on a full time basis. Bonuses are not included in the calculation.

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Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.