A contact in the automotive sales industry recently asked me, “If I were to move to the South East would I get paid more?”   

Consumption of media and pulling statistics from the back of my mind would cause me to respond with “of course, that’s just common sense right”?  However, without certainty of the validity of my response or relevance of today’s market, I set about the internet to check.

The information on a general level was difficult enough to come by, let alone applying any more criteria such as the relevance to his career level or industry speciality.  Staying true to brand - NO LUCKY GUESSES – the only thing left to do was do the research myself, be a PIEoneer and trawl our vast resources the ACTUAL answer. 

So are the streets of London and the South East paved with gold? PIE love to share information so here is what we found…

Please bear in mind this is calculated on basic salary only - commission, bonus & benefits were not taken into account.

1. In general, average basic salaries predictably came out highest in the South East at £44,319, but this was very closely followed by the Central & Midlands regions at just under £43,000. Wales & the North East fared the worst at £36,750 & £37,000 respectively but still well above the UK average salary of £27,531.

2. For more junior roles the South East lived up to expectation with the highest average salary at £32, 470 with the Midlands trailing 10% lower at £29,308. However the % difference for the other regions was not vastly different to this - between 2% and 5% lower. Wales & South West showed the only real dip at £23,071, 28% lower.

3.  Middle Management roles show a shift with the Midlands & Central region coming out tops at £46,102 with the South East just 2% lower.  Here there is less difference from bottom to top, Wales still falling behind at £36,750, just marginally behind the North East but a more reasonable 14% difference between top & bottom.

4. In the Senior Categories, there doesn’t seem to be any particular stand out region in terms of salary level, the ranges were great, leaving it hard to draw conclusion on % above any other with average salary around £70,080.  However, the distribution on the senior positions clearly lay heavily in the South East with 40% more than other regions. Second to this was the Midlands & Central with very few candidates holding senior positions residing in other parts of the country.

So can I answer the original question?  Literally, yes. Moving to the South East means you would get paid more - but not considerably more than you would be paid in a Central or Midlands region. And not a fortune more than in the North or North West, although in the South East or Midlands you may have more options available to you in the long term.  

I can’t credibly factor in wider cost of living or socio-economic considerations when weighing up the decision to move or not to move, I’d have to leave that up to him, but perhaps the regional pay gap & common conception of salaries on the north south divide is an outdated one, in the Automotive Sales industry at least.

Is the MIdlands the New South East?  Big employers and increasingly attractive business centres for automotive markets may make this a magnet for the industry.  Let's see what changes over the coming years.

What are your experiences of this?  Have anything to add? Or would you like our help and advice when thinking about your next career move?  Talk to PIE 01494 590404 or chloe.whitelock@pie-recruitment.com or take a look at our website pie-recruitment.com

You can also request a copy of our report and findings, email chloe.whitelock@pie-recruitment.com

PIE have based this research on just under 800 B2B Automotive Industry sales candidate profiles, split into 10 regional locations and 3 salary levels: Junior Executive (2-4 years commercial experience, lower level revenue responsibility), Middle Managers (4- 8 years experience or mid level account / revenue responsibility) & Senior Roles (8 years +, total account or channel responsibility without being board members or company owners).

References to UK average statistics all taken from The Office of National Statistics