After spending many years in the recruitment business, Cathcart Associates’ managing director Sam Wason has learnt a lot about salary negotiations.
Skilled tech workers are harder to come by these days.
With the UK in the midst of the ongoing skills gap, talented IT professional are more in demand than ever.
This is why it’s important to know what salary to offer your workers.
Don’t risk low-balling a skilled worker
The advantages of low-balling are pretty minimal in the overall scheme of things. In fact, my advice would be to high-ball them if you possibly can! While it might be tempting to save a few pennies here and there wherever you can, it’s never worth trying to offer less than people want when there’s a real risk your competitor is willing to pay more.
It’s important for employers to pay their workers what they deserve in terms of their skill-set, especially given how hard they are to find. It’s worth trying to offer the correct salary right from the beginning. You want them to join with a nice warm fuzzy feeling, not a feeling that they’re being taken for a ride.
What are the dangers of not paying skilled workers correctly?
It’s simple – they will leave. It costs significantly more money to replace someone than it does to make sure your current staff are happy. Your current staff know you and your business already, you don’t have to train them to get up to speed. You’ll likely have to pay a recruitment fee on top of the added stress and the time it takes to hire, and that’s assuming you’ll be able to find someone to replace them!
It can be difficult to find the right person, especially in IT and tech recruitment. Tech skills are in demand, people with the correct skills have the opportunity to shop around and there are companies that can outbid you. Basically, the odds are stacked against you.
We should never shy away from the salary question. Offering a pay rise to a skilled worker can build loyalty by acknowledging the work they have been doing and showing appreciation for this. For this reason, you should always give someone a pay rise before they think of asking for one.
How do you know if an employee is unhappy with their salary?
Don’t be afraid to ask them regularly. If you suspect an employee is unhappy with their current salary, this shouldn’t be ignored.
You can conduct anonymous surveys easily online if you feel you’ll get a more honest answer. Although, at the end of the day you should probably just assume everyone is unhappy with his or her salary!
Know how much you should be paying
Unsure how to assess how much a skilled worker should be paid? This is where clients might look to recruiters like us to ask for advice. As an IT recruitment specialist, we know exactly what we’re talking about – we’re dealing with hundreds of candidates on a daily basis, discussing their salaries and benefits. We regularly benchmark against industry averages, do our research and get in touch with candidates to hear what they think.
Salaries are rising fast. It’s a sellers market, so just paying people what you have always paid them or paying the same as “the rest of the team” might not work, especially when considering that some people are now paying up to £45k for Junior.net developers.
A recruiter can help give you a clearer idea on how to navigate these difficult waters.
Be willing to compromise
You don't want to be in a situation where an employee hands in their notice expecting a counter-offer just to get the salary they think they deserve. It’s never a good situation and most people who accept a counter-offer will have left within six months anyway.
If you can’t quite afford to pay higher salaries, make sure that you try to offer other benefits instead. People like to have nice working environments and even small changes (such as new machines, free food and drink, and other such employee incentives) can make a big difference.
Paying staff generously can help attract new talent
Businesses that regularly lowball employees in salary negotiations and refuse to pay staff fairly tend to get marked as “poor payers”, which can be a very hard label to bounce back from.
On the other hand, if your company develops a reputation for paying generous salaries this can pay off in dividends when looking to attract new talent to your business (especially in the midst of a skills crisis).
Remember, your staff are your highest priority – spend money on them first.
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