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Salary is the only way to be competitive?

Salary is the only way to be competitive?

almost 3 years ago by Michelle Mumford

Wrong. Not too long ago the number one question our candidates asked us was, "what is the salary for this role?". It was often the first question on our candidates’ lips after we had briefed them on a new opportunity. Times are evolving, priorities are changing, and companies need to keep up. Salary is important; we all like to be paid for our hard work, but there are other ways to reward commitment and dedication. Not all companies can afford to compete on salaries alone, and I think I am right in saying that this isn’t actually the most important thing to the majority of people anymore.

In our industry, we often hear that content is King…but in the recruitment world, flexibility is King! But what does flexibility mean? Flexibility can mean a whole range of things from making it acceptable for people to flex their hours; coming into the office an hour earlier so that you can leave an hour earlier; or maybe coming in an hour late so that you are able to do the kids' school drop- off and leaving work an hour later (missing the traffic that makes a drive home, a tedious commute). It can also mean establishing core hours to the business where people are expected to work but allowing flexibility around this. I have a few clients that offer core working hours of 10am-3pm and around this, they don’t mind when the works gets done because they trust that it will get done. Flexibility also means allowing people to take time out for appointments without asking them to justify it.

Another hot topic at the moment is hybrid working. We are all returning to work and still adapting to the new 'normal'. Many companies are adopting a mixed working week split between the office and home. This can take many forms but the most common seems to be 3/2 or 2/3 days in the office versus time at home. Some companies are going as far as to closing their office doors for good and working fully remotely. In my opinion (and please correct me if I am wrong) this is becoming more important to our candidates than salaries. When choosing between opportunities that are totally office-based OR an opportunity that allows flexibility; many are choosing flexibility even if the salaries are less. There are so many hidden benefits within this making it invaluable; reduced commute times, more time to work, less commuting stress, greater work/life balance, easier childcare, less commuting costs, no parking, and dare I say it, increased productivity. One of my agency clients decided to close their office doors for good, meeting up once a month in a ‘touch-down’ space. I will soon be releasing an interesting video where I asked my client all about this, how it worked, how they maintained their brilliant culture and how they overcame the barriers.

How else can you be competitive?

Holiday allowance is great, closing over the Christmas period and not taking it out of employees’ allowances is an easy win, or giving people the option to buy and sell their holiday. Giving people their Birthdays off, offering duvet days or well-being days for those days when actually, we just need to take time to ourselves! Offering wellbeing allowances to each person in the team to be spent on the gym, meditation apps or yoga classes. There are so many things that you can pick and choose from to create your own brilliant package. Candidates want more than a standard pension, basic holiday package and free parking (although free parking is always very welcome!) 

In a market that is full of opportunities for candidates, many find themselves in the fortunate position of choosing before opportunities. If you can’t compete on salary, it may be time to think about your overall package and what else you can offer, which is just as, if not more valuable than money.

If you would like to have a chat about your current ways of working or benefits, then please get in touch. This is an area that I feel incredibly passionate about and so will happily offer advice and honesty!

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