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You may have to offer competitive salaries to secure top talent

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

While talent shortages aren’t as severe as last year, many employers are still scrambling to secure skilled workers, so much so that many are forced to offer competitive salaries to land top talent.

Employers have been witnessed offering up to 31 per cent increases to market rate salaries in the hopes of landing skilled workers, according to research from Robert Half.

Offering nearly a third of the regular pay to land in-demand talent seems excessive, yet that is what many have been forced to do in the hopes of plugging skills gaps.


The average above-market salary offerings, by skill set, are:

  • Project and program management (31 per cent above market rate)
  • Cyber security (27 per cent)
  • Leadership/management (26 per cent)
  • Financial planning and analysis (26 per cent)
  • Employee relations (25 per cent)
  • Customer service (23 per cent)

This is great news for candidates as they’re able to leverage their skill set to earn larger salaries. On the flip side, this data serves as a wake-up call for employers who may think that the days of it being a candidate-driven market have turned around. Employers may not have the upper hand as many believed they did.

Skilled workers can bring expertise to a field that can be invaluable to an employer. Solid workers may cost more, but the results can often speak for themselves. This approach to sourcing talent can help to “future-proof” an organisation.

“Employers recognise that candidates who hold these highly sought-after skills bring a unique edge to their organisation and enable it to thrive in times of rapid change,” said Nicole Gorton, director at Robert Half.

“These types of premiums and salary increase are not on offer to everyone. Business leaders are looking for staff who can propel innovation and swiftly adapt to changing conditions. They are willing to pay a salary premium because of the pivotal role the candidate will play in steering companies towards growth as well as maintaining a distinct competitive edge. Employers see the salary premiums as an investment in amplifying efficiencies, reshaping outcomes and securing a prosperous future.”

Many organisations are utilising this approach to their advantage. In fact, Robert Half revealed that 37 per cent of leaders would offer higher salaries to land solid leadership and management talent.

This competitiveness highlights just how scarce skilled workers are in the current job market. Employers are having to adjust processes to account for this. Some other ways leaders are being flexible in hiring are:

  • Twenty-nine per cent of employers will bend on specific industry experience.
  • Twenty-eight per cent of employers will be flexible in regard to the number of years of experience.
  • Fourteen per cent of employers are prepared to be flexible about certifications.
  • Eight per cent of employers will be flexible about the required education.

“Employers recognise that the right skills not only enable employees to fulfil the basic requirements of the position but can invigorate a team and elevate projects. Therefore, employers are open to hiring candidates who hold the right skill set, even if their experience in the industry is relatively limited,” continued Ms Gorton.

“However, certifications still provide tangible proof that a candidate has expertise in key areas, which is particularly necessary for industries such as finance and technology, as they require a high degree of accuracy and regulatory compliance. These credentials validate a candidate’s ability to navigate complex frameworks, as well as assure employers that they possess the in-depth knowledge and proficiency necessary for success in these demanding sectors.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.