From education to employment

Work-Based Learning Salary & Benefits Survey: It’s not all about the money!

Sarah Burns, Managing Director, GPRS Recruitment

GPRS Salary & Benefits Survey launch reveals: Good management and good prospects, are the main reasons for loyal employees.

GPRS Recruitment has released the eleventh edition of their much anticipated Work-Based Learning Salary & Benefits Survey, which has highlighted significant changes within candidates’ expectations resulting from the major overhaul in 2017 within the sector, due to the introduction of the Levy and the New Standards.

Sarah Burns, MD of GPRS Recruitment, acknowledges that the past couple of years have been a challenging period within the sector for candidates, providers and support organisations, and is keen to share her findings with a wider audience, stating:

Due to so many changes within the sector, stemming from the tightening up of quality and compliance, the slow uptake of large companies using their Levy pot, and many long-standing training providers shutting up shop, there continues to be a lot of uncertainty within the training industry. As a result of this, the number of people leaving the sector continues to increase. This is due to the decline of job satisfaction, long term prospects, and continued employment options.


The jobs market has been slow within the sector, too, with many candidates being reluctant to jump ship, instead preferring the stability of their employer over an increase in pay alone.

A huge 66% of survey respondents who are currently employed believe that they could earn more money working for a different employer. However, with only 22% of all people surveyed actively seeking a new role, this leaves a substantial wedge of candidates who are happy remaining with their current employer, which is a positive.

The main reasons for staying put are aligned to the quality of the provision, and Ofsted grade, with numerous respondents stating that good management or good prospects, is their main reason for staying loyal to their employer.

Of the people surveyed, we have seen an increase from 7% to 21% of candidates stating that they are currently seeking a new opportunity. However, with the sharp increase over the past 12 months of candidates not accepting job offers, or changing their mind before the last hurdle, we would have to assume that a large proportion of the people who have stated that they are currently seeking are doing little more than window shopping, or are using the prospect of a new role to negotiate a salary increase with their current employer.

Freelance V Permanent Employment

The desire to work freelance seems to have become a less favourable option, with the majority of candidate’s surveyed seeking permanent employment.

Employers seeking to employ freelance or contract workers, driven by the introduction of new qualifications and the slow uptake of apprenticeships, does not sit well with many candidates who would rather be in a permanent salaried position. However, quite a number of candidates are also seeking a better work-life balance, by reducing their working hours to part-time.

Salary and Benefits

Both Salary and Benefits Packages have increased in the sector across the country, with notable increases within STEM and specialist industries, as well as higher-level apprenticeships.

In the majority of cases, these salary increases align with current funding bands, however, due to the shortage of suitably qualified and experienced candidates, we have also seen sharp increases in other areas such as Functional Skills delivery, and Business Development. With the exception of London and parts of the South East, I’m pleased to see that salaries across England and Wales are now more even.

For many years, the North of England had lower than average salaries, but happily the disparity has now largely diminished.

In an effort to attract and retain talent, more employers are offering bonuses and/or annual profit share than in recent years. Unsurprisingly, this is not deemed as attractive to actively seeking candidates, who would prefer to be offered a higher salary, a more comprehensive benefits package, above average holiday allowance and, if the role involves travel, a car allowance or a fuel card.

In summary…

The training sector is not immune to the skills shortage experienced across the UK, so it is becoming increasingly important to entice good candidates both into your business and the sector as a whole.

Whether you are attracting or retaining your workforce, some of the things to consider are:

  • Do you offer on-going training and development?
  • Have you reviewed your induction/on boarding process lately?
  • Are you compassionate towards flexi-time requests?
  • Are you in a position to offer freelance contractors permanent positions?
  • Are your salaries in line with national averages?
  • Have you enhanced your benefits packages recently?
  • With so many people leaving the sector, is it worthwhile considering employing trainees, with the occupational competence to replenish the candidate pool of trainers?
  • And finally, do you know what sets you apart from your competitors?

Remember to keep an eye out for the up and coming series of publications exploring each of the topics listed above, and don’t forget that we are just a phone call away from helping you identify the best-fit candidates to grow your team.

Access a copy of the 2019/2020 Salary and Benefits Survey here.

Sarah Burns, Managing Director, GPRS Recruitment

About the GPRS 2019/2020 Salary and Benefits Survey: Each year, GPRS has conducted extensive research into salaries and benefits within the industry, tracking the results in our Annual Salary and Benefits Survey. The Salary Survey has become synonymous as an effective tool for HR Managers and Business Owners to benchmark salary and benefits packages, as well as creating an awareness of what their competitors are paying. 

About GPRS: Established in 2007, GPRS are one of the UK’s leading specialists in the recruitment of permanent staff for work-based learning and training organisations.

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