At the start of the year, employers were locked in fierce competition to secure the talent considered critical to growth. As has long been the case, salary was a key determinant in attracting and retaining that talent. Today, the battlefield has been upended. Many businesses are more focused on survival. Talent discussions have shifted to layoffs and pay cuts. In times of turbulence, how important is salary as an incentive to attract and retain the best talent? Perhaps a more fundamental question is “How important is it to secure the best talent?” If employees truly are a company’s most valuable assets, then protecting those assets should always be a priority.

A Focus on Talent Is Always a Smart Strategy
Imagine a job market with millions of people out of work, where those employed consider themselves lucky to have a position. Sound familiar? It is eerily similar to the labor market of a decade or so ago when businesses and workers were struggling in the aftermath of the Great Recession. We learned then that those businesses that bounced back fastest seized their best opportunities for growth. They planned carefully, took calculated risks and invested in critical assets, especially people.

Be Prepared: The Competition for Talent Will Be Fierce
With an incredibly robust supply of talent in the market, you might think it would be easy to fill open positions. In fact, the opposite is typically true. When more people apply for a job, the candidate selection process can take far more time, energy and focus. More importantly, however, lots of businesses will be competing for top talent. To secure the best, you need to know what candidates care about and what motivates them to select one job over another.

Money Still Matters Most
For more than 20 years, Spherion has been tracking shifting trends and changing attitudes in the American workforce through its Emerging Workforce® Study. One of the most consistent findings of that research is the continuing importance of compensation as a motivator to attract and retain talent. Despite all the work that has been done by employers to provide a supportive corporate culture, growth opportunities, better work/life balance, attractive perks and a wide range of benefits, money remains the most compelling enticement that drives employees to join an organization and to leave it.

Last year, a record number of employees left their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number one reason for doing so: compensation. The prevailing wisdom is that changing jobs can have a far more positive impact on personal finances than waiting around for a raise from a current employer. In a period when the average annual wage bump hovers around three percent, a job change can bring a hike in pay of up to 15% or more.

Arm Your Company with the Intelligence to Compete for the Best Talent

Compensation has become table stakes in talent competition, regardless of whether talent is readily available or in short supply. Even in a buyers’ market, candidates want to be fairly compensated, and they expect prospective employers to be transparent about pay. That is why we closely monitor compensation trends for our clients. We compile salary ranges for hundreds of positions across multiple professions and markets across the U.S. We update the data on a quarterly basis to ensure compensation strategy is always aligned with current market rates and priced to meet candidate expectations. Armed with this intelligence, Spherion clients have the insights they need to compete more effectively for talent in any market.

We continue to monitor compensation trends closely. To stay up-to-date with the latest findings, reach out to your local Spherion office.