Candidates call the shots as business confidence returns

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half

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  • Two thirds of businesses confident about growth over next 12 months
  • New opportunities brought on by pandemic to fuel tsunami of turnover as over a quarter (28%) of workers plan to look for a new job in 2022
  • Stagnant salaries put pressure on employers to increase perks and benefits on offer

AS businesses grow in confidence and begin to recruit for new and vacant positions, there has scarcely been a better time to secure a new role, according to a report by specialist recruiter Robert Half.

The improved economic climate has increased the confidence of UK senior leaders, with 66% feeling ‘somewhat to more’ confident about growth prospects over the next 12 months than in the previous year, according to Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide, which covers projected salary ranges, benefits and hiring trends across several sectors.

However, with employers needing to fill roles created by the post-pandemic work environment, the job market is heavily geared in favour of candidates, who are better able to command salaries, benefits and working conditions that suit them.

This new-found power in the job market, along with increased certainty in the economic recovery, is pushing candidates to consider their options. More than a quarter (28%) of employees are likely to look for a new job in 2022 – and many are already searching.

Working from home affects salary potential

Recruitment for permanent positions is set to kick up a notch in 2022 as 31% of businesses move to fill vacated roles and hire for newly created positions. Demand is particularly high for talent with hybrid skill sets, as well as digital skills that ensure businesses can keep up with the pace of transformation and automation.

In most sectors covered by the report, salaries are expected to remain static and 25% of employers say they have no plans for increases in the near future. However, with fierce competition in the market, intentions may not match reality, and increases in median monthly pay* show the strength of candidates’ influence when agreeing terms with a new employer.

Despite the rise in remote and hybrid working over the past year, location still matters when it comes to salary. Nearly half (47%) of employers still take a candidate’s location into account when making a remote hire, which could limit salaries for those opting to live away from the physical workplace.

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, said: “While businesses may not intend to increase the salaries on offer, the booming jobs market means they may need to re-evaluate. With candidates holding multiple offers at the moment, we’re finding that a competitive salary alone is not enough; businesses must review the benefits on offer and promote their values to set themselves apart.”

Benefits needed to retain talent

Employers are balancing stagnant salaries with enhanced benefits packages to gain a competitive edge. For example, more than three in five (62%) employers are now offering bonuses above or in line with pre-pandemic levels to counter stagnant salaries, and nearly half (45%) now offer remote working as standard, in line with candidate expectations for the workplace.

One in five (20%) employees say they would consider leaving their current role if they could not have their desired working arrangements. And as employees increasingly vote with their feet and move into new roles, businesses must accommodate employee demands to retain top talent.

Matt Weston continued: “We’re currently seeing demand above and beyond pre-pandemic levels, and despite the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ creating a tsunami of turnover, we are still experiencing a saturated market where the demand for skilled talent outstrips the supply.”

Robert Half has developed five tips for employers searching for new talent.

  1. Act fast. It is not uncommon for candidates to have two or three offers on the table, so if a potential employer drags their heels, they will take another role. Dilly dally and be prepared to lose out
     
  2. Be flexible on working conditions. Candidates know what they want from their work environment, and if they are determined to work from home, they will not even consider the role
     
  3. Compromise is key. You can’t always get everything you want, especially when demand is this high. If a candidate meets the majority of the job description, consider giving them a chance or you could end up settling for someone far below your expectations
     
  4. Plan ahead. It can take a while to find the talent you need at the moment, and then you have to contend with a notice period – plan ahead to make sure you don’t end up with a gap
     
  5. Ask for help. If you are not sure about a job description or you are too time poor to commit to a speedy process, consider working with a recruiter to ease the burden

Along with insights on employer expectations for 2022, Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide also includes salary data for a large range of roles, allowing businesses to find out how much they should pay and candidates to find out the going rate.

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