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Salary negotiations increase as job market heats up

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HR directors are now more willing to negotiate salaries to attract top job candidates, according to research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK.

The research found that two-thirds (67%) of HR directors are more willing to negotiate salaries with leading job candidates than 12 months ago.

The study also revealed an increased preference for being upfront about salary. While historically candidates have been dissuaded from mentioning their potential pay, especially early in the recruitment process, 21% of HRDs now believe it is appropriate for applicants to initiate remuneration discussions when they apply for a role or during the first interview.

Adding to this picture was the finding that around one in 10 (7%) HRDs now feel the company should always be the first to initiate financial discussions, with only 28% saying candidates should wait until the final interview or offer stage before raising the issue.

“In the current hiring market companies need to move fast to secure in-demand talent, as candidates are receiving multiple job offers. Employers who are able to act quickly during recruitment and are prompt in providing applicants a competitive job offer are more likely to secure skilled professionals,” said Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half.

On how and when hiring managers should broach the subject of pay, Sheridan added: “There is no one best way, however, HR directors have the opportunity to do so by providing the salary band when advertising the role, during the interview process, or in the job offer. Either way employers should be proactively benchmarking remuneration levels so they remain competitive when discussing salary and benefits with potential candidates.” 

The study also predicted 5.6% wage increases for existing employees in the next 12 months.

Half (49%) of HRDs said they are operating in a job market where salaries are rising, with none reporting a deflationary wage environment.  

HRDs highlighted that employees demonstrating willingness to learn and advance would be most likely to secure a pay rise (41%). Other reasons included the time period since the individual’s last raise (32%), their technical competency and measurable output (31%), followed closely by tenure in the organisation (30%).