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Why employee wellbeing is now a recruiting tool in planning


A focus on employee wellbeing can make you an attractive employer for the best prospects, says Freddie Bell – and planning is beginning to cotton on

Over the past decade, planners at junior to intermediate level have been paid extremely well. While Northern and rural regions are closer to national averages, planners in large urban centres and the South East have financially prospered.

The median London salary is £34,473, but I regularly speak with senior planners in the city who, with just four to five years’ post-qualification experience, are earning over £40,000.

This is no bad thing and has happened as a natural result of there being fewer planners than there are jobs. But as more planners join the profession, this is showing signs of rebalancing itself and companies are refusing to pay what they once did.

So how do forward-thinking practices attract the best staff? By fostering a culture of wellbeing.

Young planners are often attracted by three main things: a good salary, training and development opportunities, and flexible working hours.

My research shows that the average salary paid to planners is marginally down on past years, with employers looking for more expertise before paying premium wages. Therefore, companies not offering a premium salary to attract high-level staff might want to consider their wellbeing offer.

“It’s time for companies to reflect on broader solutions for their staff”

First, this could focus on training and development. Often looked at as a chance to improve technical planning knowledge, sessions could also look at managing work/life balance and mental wellbeing at work.

Second, more companies are now offering flexible working hours, part-time opportunities, or home-working options – and this is actually an area where the public sector is leading the way.

These organisations are providing more autonomy to employees to manage their workload to fit their personal life.

This is just a one-sided snapshot of flexible working and there are many factors to consider in implementing it effectively. But if offering flexibility allows your firm to attract high-quality planners, keeping them motivated and healthy, why wouldn’t you look at it?

These are also solutions to help hire and retain from a wider pool of talent; part-time hours are more desirable for employees returning from maternity/paternity leave and it’s easier to schedule a school run if you have flexible working hours.

As workers look at how employers view their wellbeing, especially when looking for a new job, it’s time for companies to reflect on broader solutions for their staff.

And if you’re a planner looking for a job, what motivates you? If a better work/life balance is top of your agenda, then in a market adjusting itself you will have to temper your salary expectations.

Freddie Bell is principal recruitment consultant at Mattinson Partnership


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