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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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News: Competitive salary replaces job security as top priority for employees


Employees are increasingly prioritising a competitive salary over job security when it comes to employment requirements, according to new research from recruiter Randstad.

The survey found that pay and benefits are now the top priorities for UK employees, ahead of job security – the top factor for the last three years.

In 2012, 27 percent of people said long-term job security was the most important factor in choosing to work for a specific company. This has since fallen to 16 percent, the lowest for three years. Eighteen percent of respondents said a competitive salary and benefits was the most important factor in picking an employer, compared to 11 percent in 2012 and 12 percent in 2011.

The research revealed strong variation in happiness with current job and pay across industry sectors. People working in the utilities and insurance sectors were the happiest with 95 percent happy with their jobs and 62 percent happy with their pay. Retail employees (51 percent) and accountants (42 percent) were identified as the least happiest.

With such strong variation over three years, it’s difficult to say for sure what individual employees are prioritising at any one time. HR must discover internally what people are prioritising so they can pitch packages at the right level. With new hires, finding out individual priorities at interview can help with long-term engagement.

Mark Bull, Randstad’s UK CEO, said: "2012 was a tough year for the job market with confidence falling even further than in 2011. That was reflected in people’s priorities – salary packages weren’t as important to potential employees as the financial health of a business. Over the course of the last twelve months, that’s changed dramatically and the UK’s workforce appears much more bullish.

“In 2011 and 2012 the number one priority for people was job security – now it’s salaries and benefits. With skills shortages intensifying as the UK’s restrictive migration policies take hold, employers need to work harder to attract potential candidates who are being less moderate in their salary expectations than they have been for years. It’s no longer enough to rely on rock solid financials if you want to attract top talent.”

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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