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2011 salary and work survey published

It’s a question most of us want to know the answer to: “Am I getting paid enough?” Well, our latest salary and work survey can answer this – and more.

Filed in Work research

Each year, we undertake an extensivesalary and work survey, inviting hundreds of learning and development professionals to answer questions on everything from work/life balance to pay and benefits.

This year, a record 813 people responded to our survey, which took place in November and December 2011. The responses have given us an accurate picture of the current state of the learning industries. (Those who want to get right down to the detail can download the salary and work survey in PDF format.)

A survey that highlights tough times

Although quite a few good things were highlighted by the survey, the overall results from most of the answers are very much a representation of the tougher times in which we currently work. For example, only 11.61% of those who responded received a pay rise in the last year that was above the level of inflation. The majority (59.97%) didn't get a rise (no real surprise there) while a lucky 28.42% received a rise that was in line with inflation.


2011 also saw a squeeze on contractors' daily rates, with far more freelancers and contractors moving into the sub-£300-per-day bracket than in previous years - 67.35% of freelancers are now in this band.


For those who are employed, there was a downward shift in the number who have a personal target that enables them to increase their earnings: 63.08% now can't boost their income in this way.

Earnings down, but benefits mostly up

While the squeeze is on pay, it was interesting to see that the percentage of people receiving some specific benefits has increased. For example, the number of people receiving private medical insurance, occupational sick pay, pension contributions and life insurance increased significantly. That said, the number of people who receive no benefits at all also rose, from 24.18% to 30.33%.

Working harder to stand still

With times being so tough, most people want to make sure that they (and their employers) pull through. So, it shouldn't raise too many eyebrows to see that over 80% of people now work more hours than they are paid for - with 70.02% of people working up to 10 additional hours a week unpaid. Only 18.37% of those who responded said that they didn't work any unpaid hours.

The overall picture of pay is one that is still reasonably healthy, though - over half of those who responded earn between £21,000 and £45,000, showing that the learning industries remain reasonably well-paid. 53.03% felt that their salary was 'about right' while 39.34% felt that they were underpaid. Only 7.63% of people felt that their pay was higher than average.

This satisfaction ratio was broadly maintained when it comes to benefits - 45.58% felt that their benefits were lower than average and 44.89% felt that their benefits package was about right. Only 9.53% felt that their benefits package was higher than average.

The pay cut 

One fairly shocking statistic was that 30.50% of people took a pay cut to secure a new job - something that would have been largely unthinkable just a few years ago.

And yet, we're still (mostly) loving it

Despite the bad news, the vast majority of people are still happy in their work - 84.72% of people said that they were either 'very happy' or 'happy' in their jobs, a small increase on last year's figure of 82.42%.

Being happy with your work is one thing, but that doesn't always mean people are happy with their job - around 58.85% of people said that they would be looking for a new job in 2012, 27.96% of people stating their reason for change being 'more money' while 18.89% want a more interesting job. It was great to see that 78.06% of people are happy working in the learning industry.

Tough times becoming tougher still

We don't need a crystal ball to tell us how tough things are right now - and most people suspect things will be worse before they are better. 36.59% of people said that the economic downturn had made their role a bit harder and 27.60% said that it had made their role a lot harder. 31.94% said that it hadn't really made a difference and just 3.87% said that it had actually made their role easier! When asked how the economic situation had affected clients' budgets, a whopping 90.63% said that it had reduced training budgets.


It's difficult not to feel somewhat downhearted by the majority of the survey's results, which show an industry that is toughing it out. But actually, the overall picture is a little more positive. The industry is a long way from being 'on the ropes' and is actually managing to broadly hold its own where other sectors are seriously struggling.

You can download the full salary and work survey, free of charge, in PDF format.

Response statistics

813 people responded. 75.22% from the private sector and 24.74% from the public sector. Those who responded work in a range of learning industries and roles and included people in permanent, contract and part-time roles - the survey gives a full breakdown of all of these. The majority of the responses were from the UK.


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