Candidates take control, demanding 15% more salary

The newly-released 2022 Salary Guide from specialised talent solutions provider Robert Half shows that more than four-in-five (81%) employers think candidates have become more demanding since the pandemic when it comes to negotiating salary, requesting an additional 15% on top of the salary initially offered.

  • 81% of employers think candidates have become more demanding when it comes to negotiating salary compared to pre-pandemic conditions, requesting an additional 15% on top of their proposed starting salary on average
  • 77% of employers are planning to increase starting salaries for new hires this year by an average of 10%
  • Signing bonuses are the most popular tactic to attract top talent with 57% of employers planning to attribute one in 2022

Sydney, 24 March 2022 – With job vacancies increasing by 56% in a year according to the latest official ABS figures[1], it’s not surprising candidates are leveraging their bargaining power when looking for work. The newly-released 2022 Salary Guide from specialised talent solutions provider Robert Half shows that more than four-in-five (81%) employers think candidates have become more demanding since the pandemic when it comes to negotiating salary, requesting an additional 15% on top of the salary initially offered.

Remuneration intent among employers

In response to rising salary expectations in Australia’s skills-short market, over three-quarters (77%) of employers are planning to increase starting salaries for new hires this year, offering a 10% increase on average compared to last year. While this is almost 7% above the national wage growth average of 2.3%[2], it still falls short of the average of 15% salary increase requested by candidates, according to survey data.

Of those employers planning to raise salaries for candidates applying at their organisation in 2022, almost four in 10 (39%) say they will increase salaries for all candidates while another 38% say their will only offer higher starting salaries to hard-to-find talent. The Robert Half survey also emphasises the scarcity of technology talent in the Australian market with the proportion of CIOs planning salary increases jumping to nearly nine in 10 (86%).      

“Employees who feel undervalued, overworked, underpaid or think their career is at a standstill – now is the time to explore options. Australia’s skills-short market certainly favours the candidate, putting skilled talent in the driver’s seat when it comes to securing a new role,” said David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific in announcing Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide.

“While multiple job opportunities and generous remuneration and benefits are on the table, it is important for jobseekers to think critically about their long-term goals when evaluating offers. A high starting salary with limited career growth will net out to be worth less in the long run than a market-rate salary with clear career progression. Likewise, no salary will offset a rigid or highly stressful work schedule if flexibility and work-life balance are important to an employee,” Jones added.

Top strategies to attract talent

In order to meet the rising demands of candidates, companies are taking several actions to attract and secure talent in 2022. Even when salary expectations cannot be met, almost six in 10 (57%) employers have cited signing bonuses as their main tactic to attract and secure top talent. While signing bonuses offer a financial incentive to join an organisation, they also are attached to a clause requiring the candidate to repay the bonus if they leave under an agreed period of time, disincentivising rapid turnover. While the return-to-office transition is underway, more than half (52%) of employers are also formalising or expanding their flexible working arrangements in a bid to attract talent. Offering more paid leave is also cited as one of the actions by 41% of Australian businesses.

The Robert Half survey asked Australian business leaders what actions they plan to take in 2022 to attract and secure top talent (aside from increasing the initially planned starting salary).

Signing bonuses

57%

Flexible and/or hybrid/remote working arrangements

52%

More paid leave

41%

Title upgrade

38%

Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 business leaders in Australia – multiple answers allowed.

Top roles in demand in 2022

According to Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide, the in-demand permanent roles[3] this year by sector are:

Finance

National Average

Technology

National Average

Human Resources

National Average

Financial Accountant

$93,000

Developer

$103,400

HR Manager

$140,000

FP&A Manager

$153,000

Data Scientist

$145,000

HR Advisor

$92,000

Financial Analyst

$97,000

Cyber-security Specialist

$139,250

HR Business Partner

$112,000

Finance Manager

$129,000

Systems Engineer

$111,750

Talent Acquisition Coordinator

$90,000

Financial Controller

$152,000

Security Engineer

$133,300

Talent Acquisition Manager

$120,000

“Competition for talent is at a fever pitch, with lengthy hiring timelines and vacant roles a resource intensive drain on business productivity. With future growth at stake, businesses must engage in a 360 review of their attraction strategies this year. Strong starting salaries, signing bonuses, and other financial incentives are critical to commanding attention in a tight market, particularly for candidates with hard-to-find technical skills, so it is important that businesses are at or above the market rates for their sector,” said Jones.  

“However, remuneration alone is a brittle attraction strategy that leaves talent vulnerable to the next highest offer. As employers formalise their return-to-office transition, offering greater flexibility benefits has evolved into a must-have for companies who want to tap into a larger talent pool and stand out as an employer of choice.”

“Alongside tactical strategies, businesses mustn’t overlook the importance of their core company offering, including employer values and career pathways, and the speed at which they can make an offer to secure top talent. Employers should also avoid pursuing the ‘perfect’ candidate for hard-to-fill roles and become more open to evaluating candidates based on their potential to grow in a role,” concluded Jones.      

Robert Half has developed five tips for employers searching for new talent in today’s tight market

  • Act fast. It is not uncommon for candidates to have two or three offers on the table, so if a potential employer drags their heels, they will likely take another role which comes first.
  • Be flexible on working conditions. Candidates know what they want from their work environment, and if they are determined to work from home – at least partially, they are unlikely to consider the role if they are required to work in the office full-time.  
  • Compromise is key. Employers can’t always get everything they want, especially when demand is this high. If a candidate meets the key requirements of the job description, hiring managers need to consider giving them a chance or they could end up settling for someone far below their expectations.
  • Plan ahead. It can take a while to find the required talent, and - once hired – companies also often have to contend with a notice period, highlighting the need to plan ahead to make sure they don’t end up with a prolonged gap.  
  • Ask for help. If hiring managers are not sure about a job description or are too time poor to commit to a speedy recruitment process, they would benefit from working with a specialised recruiter to ease the burden.

 

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Notes to editors 

 

About the Robert Half Salary Guide

The Robert Half Salary Guide is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, risk and compliance, technology, and business support. The results and insights of the Robert Half Salary Guide are based on comprehensive analyses, local job placements, local expertise, and independent research of industry executives.

 

About the research 

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in November – December 2021 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.   

 

 

[3] The national average is calculated based on the average of the mid-range salaries in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. All salaries have been rounded to the nearest $1,000

MEDIA CONTACT

Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
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