Over the last quarter (October-December), we experienced a flurry of business activity which demonstrates how employers are continuing to outsource their recruitment activity in light of the 3.8% unemployment rate. The data shows that UK employers are still prepared to offer higher salaries to secure top talent in this candidate-short market. For example, the average
This year, our Salary and Benefits Review data was drawn from a survey of over 2,000 UK employees, then cross-referenced against the some 16,500 candidates we met with in 2019. The qualitative feedback from our management team fed into the data to subsequently draw together a comprehensive overview that is reflective of the ongoing candidate-short market and UK political uncertainty.
Salary increases continue to be expected
The record-low unemployment rate in the UK has led to pay rises for 43% of surveyed candidates in the past 12 months, while 61% expect a salary increase in 2020. PAs, particularly, can expect significant increases in their pay packets: 58% expect a pay rise and 63% are expecting a bonus this year – a significant increase on the 33% in 2018.
Importance of soft benefits
The desire for soft benefits from candidates remains constant in 2019, with the survey results revealing that candidates place more importance on work environment (4.06) than salary (3.98) on our scoring metric out of five. In addition, three of the top five benefits offered to our surveyed respondents in 2019 were health insurance (35%), pension over the minimum rate (25%) and a travel season ticket (23%). These benefits foster a sense of security and long-term financial management, as opposed to short-term more inconsequential benefits.
Flexible working is the norm, but employers are yet to embrace it
Even though flexible working has widely become the norm, the reality doesn’t match up to candidate expectations, with a significant 32% not happy with their flexible options at work. Only a third of surveyed candidates are offered the option to work remotely (a seven per cent drop on last year) and just 22% are offered flexi-time. There’s a clear disconnect between what’s on offer and what candidates expect, with the survey finding that a whopping 68% employees want better work-life blend by way of flexible working from their next job. We’ve written about how flexible working helps to attract and retain staff here.
Benefits are divided by genders
The findings also found that flexible working isn’t offered in the same way across genders. Employers are more likely to offer women home or remote working (36% vs. 17%), informal flexible working (21% vs. 13%) and part-time working (20% vs. 11%) compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, women rank job security as a significantly more important factor when considering a new job, compared to men who value work environment.
Short-termism remains an issue
Employers must take employee retention strategies into account coming into the new year, as 53% of staff surveyed are planning to leave their roles in 2020. This is a slight increase in comparison to last year’s figure of 50%, and indicates that employers have a long way to go when it comes to developing an effective retention strategy for their employees, particularly in this candidate-short market.
Temp-to-perm roles are on the up
Employers have requested a high number of temporary staff in 2019, alongside a 28% increase in temp-to-perm roles, compared to 2018. There may be a few reasons for this, including employers wanting to try out new staff before committing to hiring them on a permanent basis in the midst of political uncertainty. The candidate short market has also resulted in clients bringing candidates in to temp who might not have their ideal CV, but as result of their output, those candidates are favoured for permanent roles above external applicants.
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