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News & Views

Cost of living and job confidence

As the Cost-of-Living crisis and rising inflation continues to impact the UK, specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half ( is warning business leaders that staff demands for better pay and their sense of job security and search confidence is making attraction and retention increasingly challenging.

According to Robert Half’s latest Jobs Confidence Index (JCI) – an economic confidence tracker produced in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) every quarter – findings reveal that despite a small dip towards the end of last year, the JCI remains in positive territory at 19.9, with the job security and progression pillar up 1.6 points quarter-on quarter, indicating that the skills shortages is driving up both competition for talent and worker confidence.

In the survey, 42.7% of employees say they feel confident about their career and progression prospects in the next five years.  This is in line with the firm’s Candidate Sentiment Survey published earlier in the year which reveals that job seeker confidence is at an all-time high with 47% of those surveyed saying they were looking for a new job, up eight percentage points on last years’ figures.  Almost half (43%) of those actively searching for a new role indicated a desire for a better salary.

“Employers need to strike the right balance between offering competitive remuneration, progression plans and providing other benefits such as learning & development opportunities if a sustainable talent attraction solution is to be developed,” says Matt Weston, Senior Managing Director UK & Ireland, Robert Half.

“The high jobs confidence we’re seeing in the employment market at a time when the economy is sluggish is understandably putting pressure on corporate budgets as higher salaries are increasingly sought.  The challenge for employers will be finding the right balance of financial and non-financial incentives to ensure unrealistic pay rises don’t have a detrimental impact on the bottom line.  However, leaders need to be mindful of the fact that, while they can appease staff and new recruits with modest pay rises, with skills in short supply, competitors could easily poach their most valuable resource.”

“While above-inflation pay rises aren’t sustainable for many firms, another talent exodus could soon be on the cards if retention plans aren’t implemented.  Those leaders that find the balance between appropriate financial incentives and other attractive benefits such as training and progression opportunities, will be the ones to beat the competition on a longer-term basis,” continues Weston.

“With the right strategy and a clear roadmap, business leaders can emerge from the current macroeconomic uncertainty stronger and ahead of the competition.  As a leader, make sure you are looking at all the levers at your disposal.  Employers should be thinking about how to attract and retain the best talent, how to appeal to more candidates with a diversity mindset, take on more apprentices across a range of age groups, and invest in upskilling and reskilling their valuable workforce resource.”

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