Finding out exactly what to pay your workforce | EEF

Finding out exactly what to pay your workforce

Subscribe to Business Support blog feeds


Did you know that the North East leads the way for manufacturing workforce pay, or manual workers in the transport sector earn more than other manufacturing sectors? Companies who access our newly published Workforce Pay Benchmark can find out this and much more, including individual pay rates for more than one-hundred jobs.  This annual report is available free to participant members and can be purchased by non-participants and non-members.

The ability to benchmark and understand how your company’s pay rates compare against the market is essential in many aspects of HR, from recruitment to retention through to pay reviews and disputes. Since the Workforce Pay Benchmark is the most comprehensive survey in the industry, it can take both time and experience to make full use of the information provided. That’s why many HR managers turn to EEF’s research and survey analysts to provide a bespoke job matching evaluation. This evaluation helps HR managers compare specific job roles to the equivalent position in the Benchmark and analyse if they are paying the right amount for their workforce.

Here are some indicators that would suggest it’s time to look at your company’s pay (across the board or for individual roles) and how to get provable, reliable data.

Why should you benchmark your pay?

The introduction of the national living wage in April 2016 and the forthcoming commencement of gender pay gap reporting have only increased the focus on pay. Did you know that the average cost to recruit a new employee in the UK is over £5,000? This is just one example of where having accurate pay information to ensure you get – and keep – the right person for the right salary is crucial.

So what are the main reasons companies undertake pay benchmarking? In our experience this can be because they

  • Are concerned that local companies in the area are paying more and are not sure their salaries are at market rate
  • Are recruiting someone new and want to know the market rate for that job role
  • Are losing staff through high turnover and are concerned that salary is a factor
  • Have disgruntled employees or a pay dispute
  • Are reviewing pay structures or individual job roles and do not know where to go to get relevant independent pay data
  • Plan to move to another site but are unsure of what pay rates are like in that area

When you are benchmarking pay it is important that you look for research that will be relevant to your organisation. Below are some of the things you should consider when assessing if it’s the right data for you:

  • Is the data sector specific and do you need it to be?
  • Do you want to find out regional as well as national pay data?
  • What are you looking to establish – is it basic pay rates or are you concerned about the wider package including other payments such as shift premia and overtime?
  • Are there job descriptions for the survey data? This way you can accurately match the survey’s data to your own job roles
  • Make sure you are comparing ‘like with like’? If the survey provides basic pay data, you may need to pare back your own data to basic rates
  • Is the sample size for the survey and the role(s) you are assessing robust – so as to eliminate skews in the data?

Get started

As part of our Workforce Pay Benchmark research, we survey for pay information on manufacturing roles up to supervisory level across seven regions in Great Britain. This report covers more than just trends in pay across regions and sectors; we provide job by job analysis of pay rates.  If that is not enough we produce two supplementary reports: Professionals’ Pay Benchmark and Directors’ Pay Benchmark, these annual publications cover management, engineer and director level positions.

As part of our Workforce Pay Benchmark research, we survey for pay information on manufacturing roles up to supervisory level across seven regions in Great Britain.

Having a mass of information at your fingertips can nevertheless be a daunting prospect. How will assure employees that your analysis was objective and reliable, how do you ensure you have found the right match for your role(s) and how do you find the time to undertake this work? This is why we offer a ‘job matching’ service to manufacturers.

You provide a list of manufacturing jobs you want benchmarked. We then assess these descriptions against our database of more than 200 roles, to match your jobs to current market rates for comparable roles in manufacturing.

The result is that you get a customised report detailing each of your jobs with the corresponding market pay. This service gives the added benefit that you can tailor the data to your needs, whether it’s a specific region or sector – and for lower level roles we can even provide hourly pay data.

To find out more about our job matching service just contact us, email: or call 01954 712375.


Head of Information & Research

Other articles from this author >
genderpaywebinar Pay, bonus and incentive scheme design

We help companies of all sizes design pay frameworks that are defensible, compliant and benchmarked.

Read more >
Employmentcosts Offsetting increased employment costs

Download this free whitepaper to help you take a strategic approach to managing the challenges of a rising salary bill whilst retaining employee engagement.

Read more >
Online payments are not supported by your browser. Please choose an alternative browser or make payments through the 'Other payment options' on step 3.