By Tanya Jansen, Co-Founder and CMO at beqom
The British labour market has seen an extraordinary U-turn in the last two years, pivoting from a blanket hiring freeze to a hiring spree. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were understandably focused on preserving their bottom line and either paused recruitment, furloughed staff or cut jobs – or did a combination of all three. Fast forward two years and we are witnessing a hiring surge, with businesses actively competing for the best talent, which is putting jobseekers firmly in the driving seat.
As a result, businesses have been forced to up their game when it comes to salary and benefits packages simply to get talent through the door. But what does this golden pay rise mean for pay transparency more broadly?
Employees looking for more than just a salary
It’s clear that the pandemic has caused many workers in the UK to reassess their working environment and conditions and search for a position offering greater flexibility in working hours or location. Research conducted among 1,000 British workers earlier this year by beqom discovered that more than three-quarters (78%) of those surveyed would consider moving to a job that offered greater flexibility in working hours, and more than two-thirds (68%) would be prepared to accept a position providing more choice about working location.
Working parents, in particular, are searching for flexible working conditions that will allow them to pursue their professional focus while managing their childcare. Almost two-thirds (61%) of parents we spoke to said their company had created more flexibility in working hours during the past year, but that taste of flexibility has only seemed to give parents a hunger for even more choice over when they work. More than half (57%) of respondents have considered moving to a new role offering greater flexibility, 36% have been forced to reduce hours to manage childcare and 41% have considered leaving the workforce altogether due to childcare commitments.
The desire for a job that provides more than just a pay packet is clearly evident when we examine the most popular reasons for people considering a change of employer. The most common driver behind workers’ itchy feet uncovered by our research was the new job’s responsibilities, which was cited by 93% of respondents. Although the job’s salary was mentioned by 89% of those surveyed, it’s evident that people searching for a new position are even more interested in the nature of the work they’d be required to carry out than they are in their level of remuneration.
Reinforcing the hunger discussed above for a greater choice in how, when and where they work, more than three-quarters (76%) of British employees who are job hunting are looking for clear information from their prospective employer on hybrid and remote working conditions.
UK workers want greater pay transparency
Having endured a tumultuous couple of years both personally and professionally, and now finding itself faced with a cost of living crisis, the UK workforce is understandably searching for stability in the present and near future. The wish for greater certainty in their working environment helps to explain why more than four in five (81%) employees would prefer a higher salary with no bonus, while less than a fifth (19%) would opt for a lower salary with performance-based bonuses.
In order to retain hard-to-find talent, businesses would be well advised to concentrate on improving their pay transparency. Our research revealed that more than half (57%) of workers thinking about changing jobs were searching for better pay transparency than their current employer provides. Linked to that finding, and perhaps more worrying for employers, is the fact that less than half (42%) of UK employees are fully aware of their total compensation package.
The Great Resignation was interpreted as a sign that workers are searching for a new way of working, one that gives them more autonomy and flexibility. Employers need to take this into consideration when recruiting, but it’s just as important that, once they have found the right employees to fill their vacancies, employers ensure that they are keeping those employees happy by providing them with transparent and accurate information on their remuneration.