The national salary survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that the UK's food and drink sector also has the third lowest industry pay rise. The survey stands as a warning to the industry's cost cutting efforts in the face of stagnant margins in the EU. A failure to retain managerial staff could affect the efficiency of operations. "Organisations across the food and drink sector are struggling to attract staff as movements in earnings drop for the first time in four years and bonuses become less frequent," the CMI said. The survey found that resignation rates are up to 3.8 per cent this year, compared to 3 per cent in 2006. The average managers' earnings in the sector are now £40,426, compared to £47,449 across the whole of the UK. Of those surveyed in the sector about 80 per cent said they can't attract staff - a figure that has gone up four times in five years. The survey of 42,205 individuals by the CMI and Remuneration Economics also shows that resignation levels are up, despite employers offering a variety of incentives, as they try to hang on to the best talent. Average increase in earnings were 5.3 per cent, down from 5.7 per cent in 2006. "Representing employees from trainee level to chief executive, this figure is also the lowest movement in earnings since 1996," the CMI stated. At 3.2 per cent, employees in the food and drink sector are third bottom in the industry 'pay rise league table', the CMI found. The smallest pay rises, an average of 2.6 per cent, was awarded to employees in the transport and logistics sector. The figure places managers in the sector as the third lowest 'industry earners', with managers in the charity sector coming last (£37,456). In regional terms, the top earning managers are London-based, with £54,808 in pay. Their take home pay represents a 29.9 per cent difference against the lowest paid managers in Northern Ireland, who received an average of £38,399. "It is also clear that bonus payments are playing less of a role in overall 'take home pay'," the CMI stated. Across the food and drink sector, 33 per cent of executives were awarded bonuses in 2007, compared to 48.3 the previous year. The average bonus payment was £4,313 for employees, but there are vast sector differences, the survey showed. Overall, for all industries, the survey also reveals that 81 per cent of employers are reporting recruitment problems - a fourfold increase since 2002. In a sign that employers are becoming increasingly desperate to find the right calibre staff, 32.6 per cent now offer 'golden hellos', compared to just 16.3 per cent in 2006, the CMI stated. Asked why they are experiencing difficulties recruiting staff, 73.2 per cent blamed a lack of qualified candidates. About 68.4 per cent said competition for talent from other organisations was a major problem. However about 51 per cent admitted that they offered little in the way of training or career development, a figure that has risen from 37 per cent last year. About 27 per cent also said restructuring had caused job insecurity, up from 20 per cent last year. The survey also reveals that resignations in the food and drink sector have increased; now standing at 3.8 per cent compared to 3 per cent, last year. In industry terms, the food and drink sector is not suffering resignations as much as retail, with an 11 per cent rate, or insurance with 8.2 per cent, but it is faring worse than the transport and logistics industry, which had a 2.4 per cent resignation rate. Jo Causon, CMI's director, marketing and corporate affairs said the findings should righ alarm bells. "The marketplace is clearly tipping in favour of the employee, so if they are serious about retaining the best talent organisations urgently need to meet the needs and expectations of their staff," he said.