Careers and Salary Survey 2014: Pay review and prospects

Improvements in the sector's median pay bracket are reflected in the decrease, compared to three years ago, in planners who have had their pay frozen or reduced.

Close to half (43 per cent) of planners had their salary frozen in their most recent pay review - a drop from the 2011 figure, which was 64 per cent. Only three per cent have had their pay cut in the past 12 months, compared to seven per cent in 2011.

Most pay rises have been very modest - of those who have had an increase last year, about half have only had a rise of one per cent or less.

Local authority planners are lagging behind their private sector counterparts in terms of pay rises. Only 49 per cent saw an increase in their pay in the past 12 months, a considerable distance behind the 68 per cent of private sector planners who enjoyed a pay rise.

"The private sector is able to be proactive about retention of staff, but local authorities do not have the same freedoms," says Rose. "In a booming development market, the public sector is most at risk of loss of staff due to pay and conditions."

Seniority seems to have little effect on people's pay review prospects. If respondents are broken down into groups according to how many people they manage, the proportion of people who have seen pay freezes or salary rises barely changes between groups.

Results on pay expectations show more optimism compared to 2011. Only one per cent of respondents expect a pay cut at their next pay review, and a third a pay freeze. This compares to six per cent and two-thirds respectively in 2011.

But council planners are comparatively pessimistic about their future pay. Twice as many expect a pay freeze as those in the private sector. No private sector planner expects a pay cut, compared to two per cent in local authorities. Sharper pay rises are also predicted in the private sector - more than half expect an increase above ten per cent, compared to only one in ten who are working for councils.

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