02 January 2003 | Robin Parker
Buyers of electronics parts are earning less than their peers as cash-strapped manufacturers increasingly outsource production to cheaper overseas markets, according to new figures.
The quarterly salary survey from consultancy Purcon says specialist purchasers at electronics manufacturing organisations are paid £34,821 a year, about £2,000 less than the average cross-sector purchasing wage.
The figure was lower at all levels and differed most strongly among high-level purchasing executives, the most senior of whom earn more than 15 per cent less than non-specialists.
Salaries across all sectors have grown by 5.8 per cent in the past 15 months, but most of the increase came before last March, when wages became flat.
The findings surprised Jerry Smith, director of Purcon, who expected buyers to be rewarded for their specialist skills.
"Since these purchasers were employed for their specific skills, it contradicted all expectations," he said.
"The sector is quite depressed at the moment, largely owing to more competition from low labour-cost countries, and it already seems to be seeping into their pay packet."
Earlier this year, Purcon's first specific market review found that IT purchasers are more often rewarded, commanding a salary premium of up to 12.6 per cent. Future surveys will study the public sector and pharmaceutical industry.