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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 9 July 2007

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Earning power falters in the North West

ORGANISATIONS across the North West are struggling to attract staff as movements in earnings drop for the first time in 4 years and bonuses become less frequent. A survey of 42,205 individuals by the Chartered Management Institute and Remuneration Economics also shows that resignation levels are up, despite employers in the region offering a variety of incentives, as they try to hang on to the best talent.

The 2007 National Management Salary Survey shows an average increase in earnings of 5.3%, down from 5.7% in 2006. In the North West, specifically, the figure is 6.9%, representing the 2nd highest regional increase in earnings across the UK. At 2.6% the smallest pay rise was awarded to employees in the transport and logistics sector. Top of theindustry earnings league table, for the 12 months to January 2007, is the HR sector (5.9%).  In real terms, the findings show average total earnings, for managers in the North West, of £41,807, compared to £47,449 across the whole of the UK. Managers in Scotland enjoyed the highest increase (8%), but at £47,902 they are only the 3rd highest earners. The top earning managers are London-based (£54,808) and their take home pay represents a 29.9% difference against the lowest paid managers in Northern Ireland (£38,399).  It is also clear that bonus payments are playing less of a role in overall take home pay. Across the North West, in 2007, the average bonus payment was £3,527, down from £4,672 last year. The findings go on to reveal vast regional difference with employees in Scotland, for example, awarded bonuses averaging £5,382 and in London the average is £8,887.

The survey, now in its 34th year, also reveals that 81% of employers are reporting recruitment problems - a 4 fold increase since 2002. In a sign that employers are becoming increasingly desperate to find the right calibre staff, 32.6% now offer golden hellos, compared to just 16.3% in 2006. 82% also indicate that they will make ‘referral payments’ to staff, up from 62.5%, last year.  Asked why they are experiencing difficulties recruiting staff, the majority of employers (73.2%) blamed a lack of qualified candidates. Competition from other organisations ranked highly (68.4%), but employers also admit that they have failed to learn lessons from recent years. 51% said they offered little in the way of training or career development, a figure that has risen from 37%, last year. 27% also said restructuring had caused job insecurity (up from 20%).  The survey also reveals that resignations in the North West have increased; now standing at 8.5% compared to 1.9%, last year. These findings also reveal that more directors in the region (5.9%), than managers (3.7%), are likely to resign. In regional terms, employers in the North West are worst affected (8.5%) and those least affected are in Northern Ireland (3.2%).

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, says:- “The steep climb in organisations reporting recruitment difficulties, mixed with an increasing number of resignations should be ringing alarm bells for employers. The marketplace is clearly tipping in favour of the employee, so if they are serious about retaining the best talent organisations urgently need to meet the needs and expectations of their staff.”

Looking at wider benefits, the proportion of organisations providing a complete remuneration package continues to climb. For example, childcare voucher provision is up to 70% from the 67%  last year.   Life assurance is offered by 57% of employers (up from 52%).

Protecting the environment is clearly climbing the organisational agenda as company car provision is declining and more organisations (70%) encourage use of public transport through season ticket loans, compared to this time, last year (67%).

Paul Campfield, director at Remuneration Economics says:- “This year’s survey shows how benefits packages are increasingly being offered to employees amongst all levels of seniority.

When reporting first began, in 1974, provision of medical insurance was largely the domain of directors.   Today, over 70% offer the same benefit to staff across the organisation.”

1,000 women in business help others become their own boss

WOMEN looking to start their own businesses now have a network of 1,000 established female entrepreneurs to show them how it's done.  The women entrepreneurs in the network will be role models, offering inspiration to women, who face unique challenges in setting up their own businesses.  The inaugural meeting of the Women's Enterprise Ambassadors Network, hosted by journalist Polly Toynbee and Industry Minister, Margaret Hodge who launched the search for members just 4 months ago.

Margaret Hodge said:- "We believed there was a demand for female role models in business. But even we are overwhelmed by the response; we've met our target of 1,000 women ambassadors in just 2 months.  These ambassadors can encourage and support new female entrepreneurs, boosting the number of women in business - if we had the same rate of entrepreneurship among women in the UK as they have in the USA, we would have 700,000 more businesses in Britain today."

Margaret Hodge had the idea to establish the network when research showed that women, more than men, need a strong, successful role model to give them the confidence they need to start up their own business.

She added:- "Encouraging greater levels of entrepreneurship amongst women is a priority. Men are twice as likely as women to set up their own business; we know it is particularly important for women to have somebody in whom the can confide and with whom they can discuss their problems."

Ambassadors are volunteers, and will receive no payment for their work within the network. However, their involvement will afford them opportunities to: promote their businesses; influence women's enterprise policy at local, regional and national level.  Activities undertaken by ambassadors are likely to include speaking to a wide range groups, such as schools, colleges and universities.

To assist ambassadors, an induction and training package is being developed. This will be supplemented by online facilities that will allow ambassadors to access information and exchange views.  Many ambassadors have been recruited to the network through the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and key partners, such as the Make Your Mark campaign and the Small Business Forum.

The establishment of the Women's Enterprise Ambassadors Network has the support and endorsement of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Ministers. It will be delivered on behalf of the DTI's Small Business Service by the 9 RDAs and the Make Your Mark campaign.

Boyo Racers!

'VALLEY' Drivers in Wales race up the most speeding fines per head in Britain. 

Yes, speeding fines cost every man, woman and child in North Wales a huge £5.80 each last year, more than any other region in Great Britain, reveals a study for the launch of the 2008 Philip’s UK Road Atlases.  While the Boyo Racers of Wales and the Bedfordshire Bombers (in 2nd place with £5.20 per head) are racing up the fines, across the Mersey, Scousers are driving at a snail’s pace, racking up a mere 80p per person in speeding fines.

The study reveals what looks like good news for Britain’s motorists, with the average number of speeding fines issued in 2005/06 declining by 3%. However, delving deeper into the study reveals a host of regional inconsistencies. For example, Derbyshire has seen a 24% drop in speeding fines per head, whereas Greater Manchester has seen a massive 43% rise.

“At Philip’s, we find the regional inconsistencies very disturbing – they undermine the credibility of the scheme.

Wales is the speed camera centre of the UK. Mid and South Wales comes second only to London for raising money through fines. And North Wales raises more per resident than any other area, although some Midland counties, like Bedfordshire, Northants and Warwickshire run it close.” said speed camera expert, Stephen Mesquita.

The 2008 Philip’s UK Road Atlases, presents the first full analysis of the official Department of Transport figures, as part of its Top 10 Tips to avoid speeding fines. The study by speed camera expert, Stephen Mesquita, brings to light figures released for the first time under the Freedom of Information Act.

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