In the last 12 months we’ve seen the so-called ‘great resignation’ come and go and with it there have been some major impacts on the UK Financial Services labor market. Some were a ‘flash-in-the-pan’, and some will have a long-lasting impact on how we attract and retain hires.

Retain NOT Replace

It’s likely that you have spent time and money on any new hires you have made and there is always pain along the way. With this in mind, you need to do all you can to make sure you work hard to retain your people, something that a majority of senior leaders overlook. After all… it will be time-consuming, expensive and unsettling for the team if you had to do it all again and none of us want to hire the same role twice if we can help it.

What can you do to retain good people…?

  • Reward fairly. Offer candidates what they are worth in the first place.
  • Onboard them swiftly and smoothly – make them feel welcome and valued.
  • Meet them. Often. This may sound strange, but we’ve heard stories of hires not meeting their teams for months due to remote working.
  • Compete on benefits. If yours are not up to scratch – you need to change that.
  • Be clear on career mobility and what employees must do to progress and stick to your promises. dangling the carrot does not cut the mustard!
  • Train properly – even experienced hires need support and development.
  • Be inclusive – a big one.
  • Deal with issues quickly – make time to understand problems and fix them quickly. Be that empathetic boss you always wish you had.
  • Benchmark your salaries and reward accordingly. If you don’t keep up – people will leave.
  • Offer an open environment and support staff mental health.
  • Make it fun – if someone does not enjoy coming to work, they will vote with their feet.

Reward excellence and promote. Why wait – take too long and someone will beat you to it.

Good old supply and demand

Supply and demand at the non-executive level has spiked and has had a lasting impact on salary expectations for many. For those of us that experienced hiring Newly Qualified Accountants in the last 12 months – WE FEEL YOUR PAIN!!

Expectations on base salaries have gone up on average by 14%, counter-offers were the order of the day and in some instances, NQ’s increased their salaries by up to 50%, yes 50%!!

There were far more roles than there were candidates and it would have been unusual for a quality applicant not to have multiple offers. This led to some bidding wars – which were a thing of the past.

All of this has led to increased salary levels and has also pushed up expectations on benefits and bonus, employee wellbeing and development and has forced some companies to ‘UP THEIR GAME’! UK unemployment is at 3.7% – lower than any rate since the early 1970’s. No wonder hiring has got more expensive!

Cost of Living

In a recent survey, 70% of the UK workforce is worried about their current salary in light of the cost-of-living rises. Increased mortgage charges and the boom in the rental market also weigh heavy on our minds. The average salary grew by 4.2%. Inflation is at 10.5% so it does not take an Accountant to do the maths.

Cost of living is at a 30-year high with fuel, food, and housing prices unlikely to drop significantly in 2023. 34% of workers surveyed said they were considering moving roles based on the need to earn more money, with a high percentage of them seeking better benefits and bonus potential over job satisfaction and career development. In real terms, the average person’s wages have declined by 4% in the last 12 months.

It’s not all about the money… is it…?

In a recent UK survey, 71% of people said that a supportive working environment with a flexible and positive culture was as important to them as salary.

With mortgages hard to come by and deposits even harder to muster, this current generation are not all about the money. In many cases they feel that buying a house is simply unattainable, they can’t afford a car – let alone the fuel & insurance and rents are so high that disposable income is far less than it used to be. Making your culture as supportive, inclusive, and positive as possible will help you attract and retain hires.

David can beat Goliath. So, even if you cannot compete with world-beating benefits and Hedge-Fund bonuses you absolutely can out-compete on making your work culture an amazing and attractive place to be and guess what? If you can do that, the rest will look after itself!