Salaries up! Or are they?

Published: 1 April 2015

This weeks news from Adzuna that (advertised) salaries have risen by about 8% over the last year is promising.  While this feels good it can’t be taken too literally. In simple terms it suggests that the market is becoming more competitive. In general you get what you pay for, and within reason the better candidates sit at the upper end of any actual or perceived ‘band’. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all met those we think are overpaid for what they deliver. However, where companies have been financially constrained, it’s been opportunity, challenge and culture that have been the key attraction tools. These are all good motives. But the ability to compete on price is an indicator of greater underlying business confidence, something we can all feel good about.

Other observations of that survey were that two markets in particular were displaying particularly strong growth; Health & Education. Our own business mirrors this with both of these sectors showing consistent and increasing demand for talent in both practitioner/ academic roles as well as the enabling corporate functions.

It is perhaps more than a touch ironic that another survey outlines that one in five exaggerates their salary to prospective employers! For many a long year I’ve shared the view with candidates that when moving jobs it’s better to be in the mind set of ‘joining a firm’, rather than ‘leaving a firm’. And, no matter how someone might justify it to themselves; bending the truth, little white lie etc., misrepresenting your salary is joining a firm by fraud. The market is pretty good at working out ‘worth’.  Deliberately mis-leading your prospective employer is a heck of a risk for a few quid more in the short term. Back yourself to deliver and trust that your employer, or the market at large, will reward your good performance. Deserve it and earn it without having to check back over your shoulder…

So, let’s take heart that the markets are displaying strong signs of increased and wide spread commercial confidence. Firms are seeking to hire competitively and are beginning to feel bold enough to stretch their incentives. It seems like the infamous ‘War for Talent’ is picking up tempo once again.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner, and Head of IT Leadership & Technology Practices for Berwick Partners.

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