Careers and Salary Survey 2014: Job satisfaction

Asked whether they are considering a career move out of planning or planning-related work in the next year, 21 per cent of respondents said that they are, a figure that is down from 24 per cent in 2011, but still higher than the 18 per cent recorded in 2007.

The proportion of local authority officers considering leaving has returned to 2007 levels, however, and now stands at 23 per cent, down from 27 per cent in 2011. Dissatisfaction in the private sector is lower than it is in the public sector, with 14 per cent considering a career change, lower than 20 per cent in 2011 but still higher than the 2007 proportion of only nine per cent.

In 2011, a quarter of 25 to 29-year-olds said they wanted to leave the sector. This has now dropped to 13 per cent, even lower than the 15 per cent of 2007.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents under the age of 40 who are considering leaving planning said inadequate remuneration is the main reason. For older planners, the main reasons are dissatisfaction with the nature of the job and excessive workloads.

"Generally I am experiencing problems with motivating and retaining team members in a time of uncertainty," explained one local authority respondent. "This is not helped by the fact that annual inflation-based pay rises have not been available in recent years, leading to real-term salary decreases."

In response, the Royal Town Planning Institute highlighted evidence that the majority of professionals are happy in the sector. "Our centenary survey showed more than three-quarters saying they are proud to work in planning," a spokeswoman said.

But she acknowledged that salaries are an issue. She said: "Remuneration can be significant in terms of career choices and decisions made by individuals, which is an important issue for the profession and employers to consider in developing and retaining staff."

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