5 Questions to Answer About Pay As You Ramp Up for Growth

By any measure, this has been a most unusual year. Although some plans were put on hold, there are growing indications of optimism for the future. Many businesses have been ramping up for a strong fourth quarter. Others are firming up plans to kick off 2021 with a bang. Some never slowed down in 2020. In fact, with more than 10 million U.S. jobs created since the start of May, Spherion has been actively recruiting employees for thousands of open jobs ALL across America. No matter where your organization falls in terms of growth trajectory, ensuring you have the right talent to support your growth is critical to your success. Will high unemployment make it easier to recruit? What does it take to attract the right talent? How will the current environment impact compensation? Read on for answers to key questions like these that impact the ability to staff up for growth. 

  1. How important is salary in the current economy?
    Salary has always been the #1 reason people choose to take it or leave it… ‘it’ being a job. In the Emerging Workforce® research we’ve been conducting for more than two decades, salary always rises to the top in terms of attracting and retaining good talent. A candidate is more likely to accept a job offer they view as not only fair, but a step above their previous compensation. An employee will stay with an organization longer if the salary is attractive enough.
  2. What else do candidates care about?
    Fair pay (or better yet, highly attractive pay) is considered table stakes in the job market. Money is only an opening gambit, however. Once you get past the dollars, job candidates are interested in what other perks and benefits are on offer. This goes beyond the expectation of receiving a healthy package of health benefits. Pre-pandemic, when everyone traveled to a work location, perks often meant onsite amenities, such as coffee bars and bean bag loungers, gyms and childcare facilities. With so many people working remotely, there is now an even greater emphasis on work/life balance. Employees crave a shutoff switch, so that they can make a hard shift away from work at the end of their day. Other enticements, such as the work environment, corporate culture, collaborative teams, great relationships, development opportunities, recognition and more, are undergoing a process of redefinition to work ideally in an all-digital or hybrid workplace. [Virtual birthday cakes simply cannot replace real chocolate!]
  3. How should you price a position?
    To determine an ideal pay rate, start with the job description. Work with the hiring manager to set a budget range and determine performance expectations. Then look at similar positions, market conditions and recent job postings to get a sense of what’s happening in the world for that particular job category. Don’t assume whatever you’ve done in the past will work for you now. Did the pay rate go up, down or remain flat? Avoid the common mistake of simply cutting and pasting from the last posting. Your ability to confidently share pay ranges up front can help filter out inappropriate candidates. At a time of high unemployment, this will make it easier to recruit.
  4. What can you do if you can’t afford your ideal candidate?
    Take a step back and reconsider your options. Maybe there is room to adjust your expectations.Could the job be performed with less experience and more mentoring? Similarly, can you look at related experience rather than the exact same experience? Are there transferable skills you can consider?
    What about upping the post-hire training in lieu of greater up-front experience?
    Are there other incentives you can offer to offset the shortfall on salary? For example, what about greater scheduling flexibility or remote work (assuming onsite work is the norm)?
  5. Where can I get access to the most accurate and timely salary data?  Online tools may be convenient, but they don’t come with the expert advice and unique localized perspective available from a real-life recruiting and staffing expert. The same is true of big surveys that offer coast-to-coast coverage or full industry perspectives. They can deliver lots of valuable data, but they tend to be ‘one size fits most.’ By their nature, they tend to cover wide swaths of territory, both geographically and by role. They make assumptions about the labor market overall as well as candidate characteristics. It can be a challenge to distinguish where your position or a specific candidate fits within a general range. For instance, does the benchmark refer to the proverbial big fish in a small market or a mid-level fish at a mega-company in a metropolis? Sometimes there are simply too many variables to make a solid comparison. That’s why working with a recruiting and staffing specialist who really knows your local market is the best solution. A local expert will evaluate all of these data points and apply localized knowledge and trends, ensuring the data is relevant to your situation.

Getting Answers
It’s said that money makes the world go round. It certainly brings people to work. Salary is one of the most important elements in talent acquisition and retention. That is why it is so important to give careful consideration to pay rates for every job. It’s why we monitor ongoing trends across the nation and in every local market we serve. We track real numbers, updating our salary guide and recalibrating every quarter. Our most current salary data by location, position and experience is available now. Talk to us today for expert guidance on recruiting and staffing to support all your plans for growth.

Quick Takes on Pay
Current pandemic-fueled economic conditions have forced most employers to rethink compensation plans. There has been lots of uncertainty, but here are a few indicators of what is happening and what you can expect in the future.
94% of employers increased pay in 2020 and 79% went ahead with planned incentive and bonus payments. [Source: Mercer]
65% of employers expect to make pay changes in 2020 to address pay equity issues for women and minorities. [Source: WorldatWork 2020-2021 Salary Budget Survey]
84% of employers plan to offer pay raises in 2021. [Source: Willis Towers Watson]
3% is the consensus pay raise planned for next year. [Source: Salary.com U.S. and Canada National Salary Budget Survey]