HR Policies & Procedures

Salary Still Important

More than half of workers say salary is still the top factor they think about when job hunting but other benefits are becoming increasingly important too, according to new research from global recruitment specialist Randstad.

57% of workers look at salary as one of their top five priorities, although this was down from 62% from last year. Long-term job security comes in second at 52% and a pleasant working atmosphere is third at 51%. The research commissioned by Randstad, also revealed an increase in UK workers who consider flexible working and good training important.

The results provide key insights for HR managers who can tailor their job openings to different target audiences, increasing the quality and breadth of the talent pool they can pick from.

Mark Bull, Randstad’s UK and Middle East CEO, said: “Receiving a competitive salary is still top of the list for most employees but it is certainly not the only motivating factor and not always a lasting one either. Besides, it isn’t always possible to offer a competitive salary so companies need to align themselves with the true motivators of their workforce and incorporate them into their recruitment campaigns.

“Offering flexible working, good work/life balance, incentives or reward programmes and good training are all things companies can use to add value to their job vacancies and make them more attractive.”

The research was carried out as part of the 2016 Randstad Award, the world’s largest public opinion survey into employer attractiveness, now in its fifth year in the UK. The survey of more than 200,000 people across 25 countries looks at employer branding and what workers really look for when they are job hunting.

There is a notable lack of expertise in certain niche sectors in the UK, including IT, engineering and oil and gas, which is stopping companies from expanding. This coupled with the fact the number of baby boomers retiring is greater than the number of Generation X and Generation Y professionals replacing them, makes recruitment increasingly challenging.

However, having an attractive employer brand – an employer’s reputation in the job market – increases a company’s chances of finding the right person to fill a role where skills or experience are in high demand.

Mr Bull said: “Getting employer branding right is vital to a company’s growth and businesses that can offer their potential employees an attractive proposition are much more likely to succeed in the long-term.

“For companies with a strong employer brand, it can increase their productivity and shave money off their hiring costs. Our figures show those who take a more tailored approach to what staff want, benefit from a 46% lower cost-per-hire and a 28% lower staff turnover.”

The Randstad Award revealed the top factors are different between men and women, younger and older workers and higher and lower educated respondents.

Those with a higher education are most concerned with good career prospects, job content and atmosphere whilst those with a lower education focus more on salary and job security. Younger workers tend to look for good training, career opportunities and strong management while older employees prefer salary, job security and interesting job content.

Mr Bull added: “Not all workers want the same thing and hiring managers need to take account of the different motivating factors for different groups. If they know that a particular demographic is more likely to want to the jobs on offer, then their recruitment messages need to strike a chord with that audience.”

The survey also looked at what companies are perceived as most attractive by workers and the reasons why. However, what companies score best on isn’t always the same as what workers really want. Companies generally scored best on financial health, strong management and training but workers cited salary, pleasant working atmosphere and long-term job security as the things they most look for.

Mr Bull said: “There is a gap between what workers want and what companies are perceived to do best. Such a mismatch could have a negative impact on the recruitment process.

“Yet, if companies take the time to really understand what different target audiences want and what candidates’ motivating factors are they will increase the chance of finding the best people for the job.”

The Randstad Award also revealed further differences between industries. Salary is most valued by those working in finance, accounting and insurance whilst interesting job content is top for employees in legal and purchasing. Public service workers, social workers and childcare workers look for flexibility.

These were all attributes that led to John Lewis being inducted into the Randstad Award Hall of Fame this year for being the most attractive employer in 2012, 2013 and 2015. John Lewis received 92% name awareness and 62% attractiveness. The retailer came top overall with 57% of the vote, Rolls-Royce Group came second at 54.82% and British Airways third at 54.12%.

More generally, companies with high name awareness and high attractiveness are considered the dominant players, enjoying the pick of the talent pool. However, companies with low name awareness and low attractiveness have a limited choice among less qualified and less motivated employees.

The automotive and aerospace industry was considered by respondents as one of the most attractive industries to work in with almost 45% of the vote. Pharma life science scored 37% whilst electronic engineering received 36% of the vote. Retail, professional services and marketing and media also scored highly.

Conversely, jobs in the business services sector were considered some of the least attractive. Automotive and aerospace was universally popular across the country whilst pharma life sciences was more popular in the South, London and the Midlands. Electronic engineering was more attractive to those in the North and Scotland.