The War for Talent 2018

27 Apr 2018

There has been much talk of wage inflation in recent months, not least of all the prime minister suggesting that employers should give their employees a pay rise. But as the candidates I talk to will tell you, it’s not all about the money when seeking out future opportunities.

I work with candidates from a variety of sectors. Whilst each group will have its own idiosyncrasies pertinent to industry or location, one thing I am seeing across the board is a changing emphasis on what candidates consider motivators when looking for a new job.

Just over a decade ago, the salary would have topped a list of factors most important when considering a job move. However, in today’s environment, I am seeing a much wider variety of options with factors such as work/life balance and training and development becoming equally important. This reflects the environment in which I now work and employers have to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies accordingly.

Being able to identify a remuneration package that conveys the value of an individual is critical in not only securing new talent but also in being able to retain employees. One such factor is training and development. Candidates working in fast-changing environments such as IT and marketing have to respond to the way technology is altering their industries, the new job roles being created and the ongoing need for revised skill sets. As a result, I see a number of candidates in these sectors looking closely at the level of training and development content on offer by future employers.

For others, the adventure and challenge of a new role can be just as important, with candidates requiring detailed information on how flexible their careers will be. But no one would say that their salary didn’t matter – it does but is now a constituent element of a candidate’s decision rather than the whole. For many candidates, it provides an initial benchmark to spark interest. But in isolation, it no longer carries the same degree of importance.

Candidates need to understand more about the role being offered and how it will contribute to their career opportunities in the future. Another key factor is often the opportunity to work flexibly. As an employer, you cannot change your location in the short-term but you can widen the talent pool by offering candidates the chance to work flexibly. Traditionally this has often meant people working part-time around school hours but it doesn’t have to. Particularly in congested places like the city of Oxford, it may make more sense for someone to work 10 to 6.30 rather than more traditional 9 to 5.30. Full-time home working is another challenge altogether but may be achievable with good IT and workflow planning, particularly in roles where outputs are easily measured.