With job vacancies at record highs and inflation running riot, many candidates’ wage expectations are higher than ever. To secure the top talent, you need to offer something special. But is it all about the money?
With businesses setting their sights on a brighter future, it’s an opportune moment to consider expanding your workforce as you look to achieve your objectives for expansion and increased profitability.
But it’s not the easiest market in which to find new talent, and finding the person you want to employ is just the beginning, as the next steps towards hiring them are more complex than ever. With vacancies at record highs and rampant inflation – as discussed in the preview article – many candidates are demanding significantly higher wages than they did before the pandemic.
Here, we explore how to secure that key hire without busting your bottom line.
So, how fast are wages rising? According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate of annual pay growth (including bonuses) among employees was 4.8% in November 2021 to January 2022, an increase from 4.6% in the previous three-month period.
That said, real wages are actually falling when you consider the current environment of rising inflation and exclude bonuses. Inflation isn’t going away any time soon – in fact, the Bank of England has forecast it could hit 8% by the end of June and potentially be in double digits later this year.2
This is likely to force businesses to increase wages to help their employees cope with rising prices. It’s a perfect storm, with the number of job vacancies in the period December 2021 to February 2022 rising to a new record of 1,318,000 – an increase of 533,000 from the pre-coronavirus level in January to March 2020.3
This shortage of candidates has been compounded by the Great Resignation, when tens of thousands of people left their jobs during the pandemic to work remotely or in a completely different industry.
Tempting top talent
The large number of vacancies mean the best candidates have more choice of where to work – and will often go to the employer who offers them the highest pay. So, how can you find the best staff in such a difficult jobs market?
James Lloyd-Townshend, Chief Executive and Chairman of Tenth Revolution Group, which helps develop talented workers for cloud-computing companies, said:
“Increasing the salaries you’re offering will help bring in talent right now. While you’ll take a financial hit in the immediate term, you could end up saving money in the long run, as you’ll have the talent you need to expand and improve your business. Plus, that talent will be more satisfied, so you’ll be able to spend less money and time trying to find new staff.
“When you’re working within a candidate-driven market, finding the right talent can be incredibly difficult. They have more choice than ever, and sheer scarcity means some organisations are being ‘priced out’ of the people they need to conduct business-critical tasks, such as digital transformation.”
Behind the pound signs
But does it have to all be about the money? While it’s important during the current climate, there are other ways you can attract top talent – for example, convincing a candidate that your business culture or mission fits with their values.
Indeed, maintaining a healthy workplace culture will ensure employees remain engaged, productive and focused on customer happiness – as well as being an effective way to avoid wage inflation.
Liz Sebag-Montefiore, Career Coach and Co-founder & Director of 10Eighty, an employee engagement platform, commented:
“The Great Resignation is affecting the marketplace. It’s very much an employee’s marketplace and most people turning up for interviews have another five or six roles they’re interviewing for.”
Liz adds that providing new talent with clear direction as part of their onboarding process is hugely important when looking to hire new staff. 10Eighty has recently launched a coaching app that can help individuals settle into their new organisation and support them to deliver their best as quickly as possible. Liz asks:
“What’s going to stand you out as an employer? For me, it’s not about the pay or the benefits. I believe it’s around making things employee-centric – giving them freedom with accountability.
“Candidates will have different preferences, especially when they could be working in a hybrid way, so job descriptions need to be tailored. Employers have to be flexible in what they offer – it’s all about providing an agile working environment.”
Not only that, but it’s worth remembering that more and more people want to work flexibly, so if you consider remote/hybrid employees, the business and geographical talent pool will become much wider.
The right person is out there
If you stay positive and true to your beliefs, it’s possible to find the perfect new team member for your business.
Lina Barker, Co-founder of Aaron Wallace, a market-leading grooming brand for Black men that is sold in ASOS, Sainsbury’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Zalando and Liberty, said:
“In the past three months, we have hired three brilliant people and have grown our team to a total headcount of six. The job market is interesting – there are so many moving parts. I am hearing of lots of opportunities and the increased competition between companies to attract and retain talent, but in some sectors I also see a lack of job opportunities available.
“As more and more of what we do moves online and becomes possible to do remotely, I think we are seeing more tech-based jobs become available and less service-based work.”
As the future brightens and we emerge from the pandemic, businesses need to reassess their hiring practices while considering all options. If you want to discover more ways to attract new talent while protecting your bottom line, speak to us today!
Where the opinions of third parties are offered, these may not necessarily reflect those of Wellesley or St. James’s Place.
1 Average weekly earnings in Great Britain: March 2022, Office for National Statistics, 15 March 2022
2 Monetary Policy Summary, March 2022, Bank of England, 17 March 2022
3 Vacancies and Jobs in the UK: March 2022, Office for National Statistics, 15 March 2022