Employers increasingly willing to negotiate salaries

Two-thirds of employers are more willing to discuss pay rises with candidates than they were this time last year, according to research from recruitment specialist Robert Half. 

As the economy improves and companies look to secure talented staff, more than half of HR directors are anticipating that employees’ salaries will increase by an average of 5.6% over the next 12 months, with a quarter predicting increases of above 10%.

Although employees have historically been dissuaded from initiating salary discussions with their employer, they are now in a stronger position to negotiate their pay and benefits packages. In fact, fewer than than one HR director in 10 feels that the company should be first to initiate remuneration discussions.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half, said: “The tables have turned in the job market and top performing candidates are now in a position to negotiate and command higher salaries.”

However, there is – according to the research – an appropriate stage of the process to have such conversations. Almost half (46%) of HR directors think that it is best to raise salary issues in a second or subsequent interview, while 28% prefer employees to wait until the final stages. Only 21% believe it is appropriate to discuss salary at an application or first interview stage.

Those employees that “demonstrate a willingness to learn” (41%) are more likely to see an increase in their salaries. Other factors cited in employers’ decision-making processes include: the time since the employee’s last raise (32%); their competency (31%); and their length of employment (30%).

In order to remain competitive, employers need to ensure that they offer an attractive benefits and bonus package. “As the market continues to improve we will witness an increasingly inflationary wage environment, where companies will need to pay higher salaries to attract and retain top talent,” Sheridan comments.

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