How to manage salary expectations of potential hires

Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
04 Sep 2012

04 Sep 2012 • by Changeboard Team

Keep up with market trends

With the economic climate still reeling from the financial troubles of the past few years, there is increasing pressure to keep costs low. And while candidates may have a pre-conceived idea of what pay-scale a role falls into, these are often unrealistic for employers.

But if you are to secure and retain high quality talent it is vital you are aware of current market rates. These fluctuate in line with the economy and candidate supply so when you are hiring, it is wise to keep an eye on vacancies for similar roles in other organisations to ensure you are competing realistically. In this squeezed market, wages may be lower, but you still get what you pay for. So if you’re offering far less than your competitors, with no added incentives, the chances are the applicants will be of a lower calibre.

Be flexible in approach

Consider the role you are recruiting for too. While HR departments will almost always have a pre-determined level of budget for recruitment which they are required to stick to, there is often some flexibility for top jobs. This is because the applicant will be interacting at a senior level where second best simply is not good enough.

Think retention not just attraction

While the obvious immediate need is to fill the role, retaining talent within an organisation is just as important. If your company is unable to offer a competitive salary you should endeavour to provide an attractive benefits package. HR decision-makers should make it clear to future employees that there is potential for career advancement based on performance. Compensation and benefits professionals may also wish to offer perks such as pensions, health care and childcare vouchers.

We have noticed an increase in the frequency of Long Term Incentive Plans (LTI Plans) being offered, which are increasingly non-performance related. Awarding shares to staff annually or less frequently is an effective way to invest in HR over a period of time and a great tool for locking talent into a business.

Career progression - an attractive prospect

To many applicants, career progression opportunities are just as important as the size of the pay packet. Employers should attempt to offer fair and competitive wages, even in austere times, but should remember that working environment, location and added benefits are also crucial factors when potential applicants are considering their options. As the economy recovers, anecdotal research has shown that salaries will again begin to rise. But for the moment HR professionals and candidates need to concentrate on the whole package when deciding on their futures.

With candidates judging opportunities based on potential career progression, employers need to remember that working environment, location and added benefits are also crucial factors when attracting and retaining talent. With increasing competition for the best talent, HR professionals need to concentrate on their whole offering beyond wages.