How to show value – Is it time for employers to consider their salary offer?

Let me start by apologising because the title of this article is a little misleading. The article is really about the situation we are currently seeing in the employment market. For those of you who wanted a yes or no answer to the question ‘should I review my salary offer?’ the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. It’s well worth reading on, though, because the reasons why it is a ‘yes’ are well worth thinking about if you are an employer.

The wages we earn are affected by a number of factors

Some of these are fairly static and easy to bundle into a salary offer. Inflation is a good example. It’s a simple enough relationship between a rising cost of living and the need to pay an employee a salary that reflects that need for more money. For the most part as well, the market surrounding the prospective employee will also have an accepted salary range for the job they applied for. In some jobs, of course, this is linked directly to a set pay grade such as the ones that operate in education, the civil service, NHS, and so on. Whether these are fair or not is another question. As far as recruitment goes, you have a fixed line of sight on an appropriate wage.

Sometimes, though, things are more difficult. Right now is one of those times, and we want to make sure that employers recognise this because those that do will be far more likely to get the right team member. Something is affecting wages, and that ‘something’ is scarcity. Not that candidates are scarce because they are not there, they are in short supply because their expectations and situations have changed.

Covid is still having an impact

Covid may well be on the backfoot now, but it is still having an impact on employment. Speaking in general terms, candidates are a little more nervous about moving to a new role, more demanding in terms of the benefits of their contract (requesting remote working being the best example of this), less inclined to take a risk because of the uncertainty of a return to lockdown, and are often more loyal to the employer that supported them through the difficult times. Overall, that means fewer people willing to apply.

We all also need to remember that things didn’t stop as far as salaries go during Covid. It may have felt like 18 months of suspended animation, but the truth is that the cost of an employee is not the same now. Employers cannot just pick up where they left off in early 2020 and hope to get the same results.

So, what does all this mean practically?

Well, sorry, it usually means paying a little more for the employees you need. Salary isn’t everything; we all know that. Your employer brand, the ethos of the company, training and development opportunities, benefits and potential job satisfaction all play a much bigger part in the final decision to accept a job. However, salary is a sort of welcome mat. It is a jumping-off point for the candidates who are interested in your offer, and without it being where it needs to be, you are reducing your candidate pool. Salary is the point where you first demonstrate how much you value a candidate.

There is an old saying about the value that I think really hits home right now.

‘Your value does not decrease because someone does not see your worth.’

The hard truth

In the current climate for recruitment, the hard truth is that if one employer doesn’t demonstrate they see the worth of the candidate during the hiring process, then another one will. While money is far from being everything when it comes to attracting the right people to your team, if it isn’t right, it is the ultimate discouragement to an applicant. It is not about greed; it is about worth. A salary that is in line with the current employment trends makes the statement that you understand and value the candidates you need. Rather than being a hook on which to catch a greedier fish, it is the starting point from which you can build trust through an understanding of your employer brand, a tempting offer and, ultimately, a long-term employee relationship.

Call us to discuss where your offer should be and what we can do to help get you the team you need.