New research from Reed, the online job recruitment platform, has revealed that despite the increase in interest rates, the cost of living and energy prices, salaries in the South West are not keeping up, with companies advertising lower salaries across the UK.

From analysis of more than 9.35 million jobs posted on across the UK since 2018, as part of Reed’s suite of annual salary guides, advertised salaries are sitting at pre-pandemic levels, with any rise over the past two years dropping back down to 2020 levels. Salaries in the South West are no exception, as they lag behind soaring living costs, much like the UK average.

Despite talk about ‘The Great Resignation’, Reed’s salary guides and research shows that this has become more of a ‘Great Flirtation’, with businesses in an ongoing fight to attract talent, a lack of available job seekers in the market, and the perceived risk of changing roles during economic flux.

The annual salary guides also found salaries in the South West varying between sectors, with some like business support experiencing an increase of 4.9%, but others such as engineering and manufacturing seeing a decrease (-5.9%).

The fall in average salaries is worrying news, particularly in the context of soaring inflation, with the Consumer Price Index at 5.5%, it shows that the financial effects of the pandemic are evident in salaries.

Matthew White, Reed’s Regional Managing Director for the South West, said: “Like many other parts of the country, the South West has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, as a result, we’re seeing average salaries fall across the region. The South West has always had a distinct culture and its food and drink and creative industries are struggling to recover from the past two years. Salaries in the region’s engineering and manufacturing sector are lagging behind. Whilst salaries have been under pressure it is reassuring to see businesses in the South West working on innovative, future-proof technology and the economy recovering.

“It’s encouraging to see that some sectors such as business support are seeing salary growth and shows the potential for salary recovery in the region.

“Businesses in the South West are facing a fierce fight for talent and those looking to recruit should ensure that they are reviewing their package to stand out in a competitive market.”