Getting the salary offer right in a Candidate Driven Market

Candidates are not greedy it is just economics.  This article looks at the challenges for employers making job offers in a candidate driven market and offers advice and tips on how to make a fair and considered offer that candidates will appreciate.

There are many stories out there of candidates expecting too much of a pay increase and having unrealistic expectations post pandemic. There is a perfect storm of high inflation and a shortage in the availability of candidates which means those that do apply, are in a strong negotiating position to get the best deal for them. And following on from over a decade of a drop in real wages since 2008 and the prospect of high inflation who can argue with them? 

When purchasing a car, house or major piece of technology, buyers often draw up a pro's and con's list to try to make comparisons to see which makes financial sense rather than just being a heart decision. Many organisations offer comparison tools to make this simpler. So why do many employers expect candidates to behave differently when it comes to work?

Don't expect candidates to make a heart decision after the first or second viewing.

The average worker will spend 3500 days at work in their lifetime, at Ethical Jobseeker we view this as the biggest investment a person will make in their own future and that of their loved ones. Financial security and disposable income will influence a candidate's lifestyle not just today but also for their retirement and also what they have to offer any dependents now and in the future.

We understand that culture and values alignment is important, after all that is what Ethical Jobseeker is all about, finding purpose in your chosen work. We are also big advocates of compensating employees fairly for the work they do.

So, if you need to recruit in this market you will find below some best practice tips from the Ethical Jobseeker team.

If you need to recruit in this market here are a few tips for you.

1. Do your pay and benefits research but also listen to your candidates. 
Setting clear salary boundaries at the start of a recruitment process for a role sounds like a sensible step and reasonably straightforward. We just look at some salary benchmarking and current similar job adverts to understand the market rate Right?....No. You need to do more and go further.

Sit down and have a conversation with your team about the skills required. And assign value to the skills and expertise sought. Which skills or attributes are essential to the role or business – which ones are you willing to pay the top of the band or exceed it for? 

Most candidates if asked politely will give you an idea of their salary expectations – this is easier if you publish a salary band. Remember some candidates particularly those with longevity in employment may not appreciate the value of their skills. You can also ask them about their benefit expectations. Are there any benefits you think are essential to an offer?   

Internal Value for Skills + Candidate salary Expectations = Fair and Considered Offer

2. Make offers on the skills & expertise of the candidate and not their previous salary.
If a candidate aces your recruitment process, make your offer based on your benchmarking and their expectations not on their previous salary. In fact, if you can avoid it don’t ask! It may well bias your offer and lose you a great addition to your team. This helps with equal pay too as there are still some issues with gender and ethnicity pay gaps in certain sectors. You may think a 10% pay rise is too much, but it is not if their skills are undervalued in the first place or if market demand means someone else will pay it.

3. Consider the consequences if you fail to hire? 
What is the real cost to the business of not increasing the band by 5%? Will you suffer staff burnout and lose more of your team? Will it impact your productivity or quality of service? Can you afford to wait another 3 months to hire or to pay an agency?

4. What else might you offer to be more attractive?
I am not talking about fruit baskets and candles, can you be flexible in working hours? Can you accommodate or lose some of the frustrations or negatives from their current role? Candidates rarely move just for salary – often there are other contributing factors, such as development, atmosphere, management style, find out what they are and show you have listened!

5. Put your best foot forward!

Essentially do not try to get away with a marginally improved offer and leave the candidate to negotiate – in this market they can just say no, or you risk a counteroffer from their current employer or worse still it taints the elation of succeeding and erodes trust if they must haggle before they start. It is business – and yes they are a potential colleague but the trust has not been built – they don’t know Pam in accounts makes the best cupcakes.