need HR expertise?

speak to us now

Last week I had the pleasure of [virtually] meeting up with Innecto Reward Consulting’s Director of Business Innovation & Reward Principal Consultant, Sarah Lardner, in the fourth instalment of the webinar series, to talk about the changing landscape of pay and reward.

Having worked at Randstad for over 22 years in a number of HR roles, I was keen to catch up with Sarah to help provide valuable insight to like-minded HR professionals who are working together to support one another during difficult times. 

We’re all aware of the current economic climate and how it is impacting most organisations in some way, shape or form. Much of our discussion was based around the shift to remote working, pay, industry trends, and how HR professionals can help make reasonable informed decisions to ensure that their organisations stay one step ahead.

Below are some of the key discussion points from the session and some valuable snippets of information for HR leaders. 

A shift to a client led market.

One of the biggest changes we’ve witnessed is that, at its most simplistic level, the market has recently pivoted from a candidate led market to a client led market - meaning that in most sectors, employers have the upper hand. 

It’s important for organisations to protect their employer brand during a crisis, in the most considerate and empathetic way. Our recent global workforce report found that more than half of UK workers fear they could lose their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, highlighting a growing anxiety among workers, which is certainly justified.

To help businesses cope with the sudden change to their workforce and, more importantly, the well-being of any individuals who have unfortunately taken redundancy we have developed a new outplacement programme; Randstad Risesmart. The new service will help support employee career transition through expert career coaching, personal branding, including detailed CV writing and online profile building as well as access to a dedicated job concierge, who is responsible for delivering hand-picked recommendations. 

Among the negative implications brought on by Covid-19, there are some markets continuing to thrive during the global pandemic. Social care, health care and education were the top three categories for jobs posed on last month, and from our own research we’ve noticed that data and software development roles are leading the way as the most in demand office-based jobs by employers. Our “how is key talent impacted by COVID-19 in the UK?” revealed that data and software roles saw an increase in volume (1% and 8% respectively), making it one of the few industries to increase hiring since the start of the pandemic.

Shift to remote working.

One of the greatest shifts we’ve seen in terms of working patterns in the last few months, is of course the ability for employees to log on remotely. Working from home has demanded that businesses work in a more agile way, adopting new tech at a faster rate. 

With many organisations benefiting from their employees working remotely in terms of reduction in rent, utility bills, and in many cases an increase in hours due a flexible working model, one of the biggest questions for HR leaders to consider is that around pay. 

Those organisations who have shifted to a pure remote working model have to think about how they fairly remunerate their employees based on location, tech requirements, hours and much more. The remote working model also raises the question - ‘can we hire outside of the UK now?’. With such reliable digital communication platforms, this can easily be done if there is appetite to. With access to an instantly wider talent pool, ambitious businesses may start shifting to this method of hiring. We’re noticing that hiring managers who are failing to ensure that ‘remote working’ or ‘working from home’ forms part of the new role within the job description, they aren’t cutting through and attracting the talent that they need.

Remote working and pay.

Remote working isn’t new. It’s something that technology companies have been doing historically and really well. Complexities can potentially arise however when it comes to pay - should a developer based in San Francisco, where there is a higher living cost, be paid more than a person in the same role in Birmingham for example? They are doing the same role at the same level, but have totally different lives, cultures and outgoings. This requires global benchmarking and international data to support an informed decision.

Although, as previously mentioned, hiring managers have a greater choice of suitable candidates, highly skilled individuals will start to expect greater benefit packages. With a good basic pay still being the most sought after element for the majority of jobseekers, we’re seeing requests for working from home allowances, equipment and utility bill supplements and greater flexibility overall. While this change may at first seem impossible due to the current economic climate, employers can look to repurpose these funds due to savings made in other areas. 

Reskilling, not overpaying.

Another observation of the current landscape of pay and reward is that for in-demand roles, base salaries are increasing and we are seeing less commissions and bonuses being offered. Traditionally a ‘white collar perk’, bonuses are typically not received by public sector workers, who are currently the most in demand for their skillset. Those with experience in health and social care are highly desirable candidates.

A way around this for organisations who desperately need these roles filled is to look at reskilling individuals from other industries who are currently between jobs. During lockdown we helped the Nightingale Hospital vital roles through the reskilling of cabin crew. The transferable skills enabled us to quickly provide enough suitable candidates to work alongside medical professionals to support the nation when NHS resources were scarce and many were experiencing burnout. 

Four top tips for HR professionals.

Fresh mindset.

Change your mindset in light of the new ways of working, be flexible and ensure job descriptions are including key messaging which will cut through to the appropriate candidates. As mentioned above, ‘remote working’ and ‘working from home’ are highly searchable terms at the moment, any recruiter not explicitly including this in a job advert for these roles are excluding themselves. 

Training and upskilling.

With Covid-19 preventing many businesses from moving forward in terms of education, employers are under increasing pressure to build a resilient, virtual learning ecosystem at speed, with the ability to educate at a distance. Fortunately, our research shows that 77% of workers feel equipped to deal with the new digital way of working due to Covid-19, enabling employees to carry on learning. The option to look at transferable skills is also there, using our Nightingale Hospital case study, mentioned above as an example of how available talent can be on hand in times of need.

Be informed.

Use trustworthy resources and data to make informed decisions. Take advantage of industry insights and data on salary to ensure your offering is fair and competitive. 

Randstad’s salary calculator compares over 14 million UK salaries to provide you with a detailed report on what salary a role should attract based on a number of tailorable factors, proving a good base and quick reference tool for salary comparisons. 

When interviewing.

Be sure to ask meaningful questions to really understand what’s important to your candidate on a business and personal level. 

With six out of 10 UK employees expecting to lose their job, if the business situation of their employer is affected by the Covid-19 crisis, this proves that it is ‘job security’ and not ‘reward’ will be front of mind for many candidates right now. 

Be empathetic and aware of how they are feeling and find out what is valuable to them. 

It also goes without saying that avoid face-to-face interviews where possible. A daunting, but outdated thought for many hiring managers, especially with regards to permanent contracts, however it has been proven that the nation can successfully operate from the comfort of their homes with the aid of modern technology.

For more detail on how organisations can best navigate the changing landscape of pay and reward, access the full recording of the webinar here.

Carolyn Walker - Human Resources Operations Director, Randstad UK

Carolyn Walker

human resources operations director

Carolyn has been with Randstad, the largest staffing and recruitment firm in the world, for over 22 years, in a variety of HR roles. During this time she has developed a strong, commercially focused, data driven team of HRBP's and a highly effective central HR shared service, serving 1200+ UK employees in a multi-site environment.