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Looking to hire? Vinokelly reveals salary study for UK wine industry

Looking to hire? Vinokelly reveals salary study for UK wine industry

Regardless of how well a business treats its staff and does all it can to be open, transparent and fair in how it deals with its employees there is one area where it is almost impossible to keep all your staff happy – how much they get paid. Which makes this new exclusive report from Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment, in partnership with The Buyer, such a breakthrough piece of research. It also claims to be the biggest study ever undertaken into the salary and recruitment trends in the UK wine industry. Giving the wine industry a breakdown in every sector of what average salaries are, or should be. Potentially vital research for hiring managers and HR teams looking to find the best talent out there and for those in the wine industry plotting their next move. Here we share some of the key findings.

Richard Siddle
6th December 2022by Richard Siddle
posted in Insight,

If you are looking to hire new talent in the new year then be armed with the facts with Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment’s new salary report. See the end of the article for how hiring managers and HR departments can get a special discount through The Buyer for the full report.

It is often hard to really know where your team’s salaries sit compared to the industry average, or what you are offering is the fair going rate for that position.a

Now leading drinks recruitment consultancy, Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment, has crunched the numbers and conducted hundreds of conversations, with both hiring managers and candidates looking for new roles, to calculate what the average salary is across the industry in a wide number of roles.

Its founders, Elizabeth and Gareth O’Kelly, claim the salary report they have produced is the most comprehensive, analysis of what salaries are being offered across all channels of the UK wine industry.

It covers all the key sales roles, in both the on and off-trade sectors, as well as private clients, regional wholesale, national accounts, export managers, country managers, and then across marketing, buying, technical, NPD, logistics, commercial finance, and digital.

Key findings

The biggest headline to come out of the study is that when it comes to hiring and recruitment, it is the candidates that hold all the cards. With so many vacancies in nearly all sectors of the market, particularly at junior and mid level, it means those looking for work can take their time to find the right opportunity for them.

Companies, says Elizabeth O’Kelly, are finding direct hiring difficult as it can be hard to attract the attention of the type of candidate they are looking for. It’s why Vinokelly has produced the report, she adds, to act as a key extra piece of business support to help those hiring for both big and small wine companies benchmark where they stand and look at what the market is offering, what they can afford and how they compare.

It also means candidates are in a particularly strong position when it comes to the salaries they can expect. This is having a knock-on effect on salaries amongst current employees. The study claims overall salaries are going up with companies being prepared to offer salary increases across the board of between 5% and 10% to current employees. Again the report gives hiring teams insights into the kind of offers they should be making.

Here are some other stand out trends:

The London on-trade is struggling to find enough good quality candidates to fill a wide variety of roles

  • If you are taking on a new candidate then expect to pay an increase of 10-15% on base.
  • The London on-trade is particularly under resourced with a distinct lack of experienced account managers.
  • Demand has increased for national account managers in the off-trade and businesses looking to ramp up their off-trade teams in advance of an expected slow down in the on-trade in 2023 as people consumers continue to stay in to socialise.
  • Turnover of wine buyers is low as this is seen as a desirable role within wine. Support through the WSET Diploma, MW and significant trips/travelling are held in high regard by candidates and this has kept salaries flat in recent years.
  • Buyers are being asked to take on more responsibilities as companies look to reduce headcounts in non-revenue generating roles.
  • The fine wine market is buoyant for certain companies, particularly those selling to private clients looking to invest in wine portfolios. There are very attractive packages available for top performers in fine wine.

Logistics departments are looking for good experienced staff at all levels

  • Operations and logistics continues to be an area of interest for many employers.
  • Companies should be doing all they can to retain employees in these roles as the global export/import challenges continue, says Gareth O’Kelly.
  • Social media and digital marketing skills are still very much in demand although this has levelled off post-Covid and the drop in digital sales.
  • Sales people are most focused on bonus payments and companies offering clear structures towards bonuses and commission.
  • Benefits such as wine allowance, medical and health insurance are very popular and do make a difference in hiring and also in retaining employees across all roles. Candidates will consider moving roles for a similar salary level if benefits are significantly better.
  • Offering more than 25 days holidays is a huge plus.
  • Home working still popular but Vinokelly is seeing less resistance from candidates who are being asked to return to office environments.

Gareth O’Kelly adds: “Business confidence is currently being challenged across the board, and many candidates are hesitant to move into new roles, but will do so if there are clearly stated objectives from prospective employers, clarity over bonuses, a good degree of flexible working – the 3:2 model seems to work well for most with three days working from home and two days in the office – and, of course, a fair rate of pay is still a key driver for all candidates.”

He adds: “The wine industry remains a popular place to work and those companies that value their current employees and can offer any additional pay or benefits, should do so in 2023.”

How the report is compiled

Salaries are presented as ranges based on years of experience in that particular role. Vinokelly believes years experience is important and seniority does play a part on what you can expect. By showing the range of salaries available it also takes into account the variety there is between wine companies. The report includes salary ranges across a wide number of job sector roles covering buying, marketing, sales, operations, digital, logistics and commercial.

Example Chart: Wine Sales

Here you can get a sense of the detail and information to be found in the full report with an analysis of national account manager roles covering multiple retail and the convenience sector. Here salaries can vary from £30k plus bonuses of up to 10% for a starter up to £90k plus bonuses of 25% for those with at senior and controller account manager level. National account managers with eight years of experience can look to command a salary of around £70k. Salaries for national account managers are up 10% on 2021 figures.

Those in demand

The report also look at which type of roles are going to be most in demand in 2023. These include:

  • Private client account managers who can bring an established book of minimum revenue £1m
  • Sales people with experience of working directly with the multiple retailers.
  • Sales people with a good track record of building brands in the on-trade.
  • Grand Marque Champagne experience is key. If you have five years experience working for a major branded Champagne house then you can expect 15% hike in average salaries.
  • An increase in demand for experienced country managers particularly for countries that are still struggling to travel. Usually need five years of good sales experience.

The Buyer has linked up with Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment to offer hiring businesses the full report at a special price of £499 (includes VAT), compared to the usual full price of £800 plus VAT. To obtain a copy email and say you heard about this offer through reading The Buyer.

  • Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment was set up in 2016 and works with both drinks companies and candidates looking for roles in wine, Champagne, spirits and and no & low sectors. You can find out more about how it works at its website here.
  • Vinokelly Drinks Recruitment is now a partner of The Drinks Trust and a percentage of annual profits is donated to the charity.