Salaries: How To Make Sure You’re Doing It Right

Your Opinion
Published: 30.05.22

Talented professionals are more in demand than ever. The current state of UK tech, with an ongoing skills gap stretching further and further, means it truly is a candidate’s market right now.

With the competition so stiff, you need to make sure you’re offering the right package to your current and prospective employees. And central to that is the salary…

Don’t risk low-balling a skilled worker 

The disadvantages of low-balling far outweigh any advantages. In fact, our advice would be to high-ball wherever possible! Though it’s always tempting to try and save a few pennies here and there, when you offer less than people want, you run the risk of them being snatched up by a competitor who’s willing to pay more.

Paying staff generously also helps to attract new talent. Businesses that consistently fail to pay their staff fairly tend to get branded as ‘poor payers’ throughout the industry and, as you can imagine, this is a very hard label to bounce back from. But settling on the correct salary right at the beginning means new team members will join with a nice fuzzy feeling, rather than the suspicion they’re being taken for a ride. 

So, be the business that’s known for paying out respectable salaries. ‘Respectable’ is the key word here it’s important to pay what your employees deserve in terms of their experience and skill set on a value basis. 

Know the dangers of not paying staff correctly

It’s simple – if you undervalue your employees, they’ll leave. And the cost of replacing someone is significantly higher than making sure your current staff are happy. 

In addition to the losses incurred during the time it takes to source a new hire, you’ll likely have to pay a recruitment fee – and that’s assuming you’re able to find someone to fill the gap. Candidates with the right skills have the opportunity to shop around, and there are plenty of companies who can outbid you. Essentially, the odds are stacked against you!

Plus, your team members are familiar with you, your business, and your processes already. Unlike onboarding a new starter, there’s no need for training (and more costs) to get them up to speed. Giving a pay rise to an existing skilled worker serves to build loyalty – you’re recognising their worth and rewarding them for it. That’s why you should always offer someone a pay rise before they ask for one.

Recognise when an employee is unhappy with their salary

Shying away from salary discussions is always a mistake. So, don’t be afraid to ask your staff if they’re happy with their remunerations on a regular basis. 

And if you suspect a team member is unhappy with their current rate of pay? Don’t ignore it. Honest answers and expectations can be easily achieved through anonymous online feedback surveys. 

At the end of the day, if your staff are putting the work in, you should always ensure they’re being compensated for their efforts!

Be aware of how much you should be paying

Unsure how to assess how much a skilled worker should be paid? This is where businesses might look to someone like us for guidance. 

As a technology recruitment specialist, we know exactly what we’re talking about. After all, we deal with hundreds of salary negotiations on a daily basis – doing our research, regularly benchmarking against industry averages, and asking candidates what they think.

Salaries are rising fast, and the demand for talent shows no signs of slowing. Paying people what you’ve always paid them, or paying the same as ‘the rest of the team’, might not suffice – especially since some companies now offer up to £45k for junior .NET developers. Speaking to an experienced recruiter can clear up any ambiguity, giving you a clear idea of how to navigate murky waters.

Be willing to compromise

And finally, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where an employee hands in their notice expecting a counter-offer in a bid to achieve the salary they think they deserve. From our experience, most people who accept a counter-offer end up leaving within six months anyway. 

If you can’t quite afford to pay higher salaries, take care to try and offer alternative benefits instead. These could be things like new technology, free food and drink, and other employee incentives – for instance, small cash

Sam Wason Selfie

Co-founder and Joint MD

Sam Wason


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