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News & Views

Firms fear losing top talent
Over 85% of businesses are living in fear that by the New Year there will be a mass exodus top talent from their organizations due to salary reductions or the inability to increase wages as the pandemic continues to bite, according to research by Robert Half (

Unable to issue wage increases, employers are turning to alternative benefits to ensure they are able to secure qualified staff, with over a third (38%) of businesses planning to offer 100% remote or hybrid working going forward.

“Salaries will likely remain under some pressure over the coming months, but non-monetary benefits, such as a better work-life balance, will all figure prominently amongst COVID-19’s longer-term workplace legacies.  As current economic volatility looks likely to continue, the prospect of a salary freeze over coming months can be made much more palatable for HR and office support professionals if managers can ensure that non-financial benefits are sufficiently attractive and add alternative value for employees,” says Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK.

Although the research found that most businesses planned to continue paying bonuses this year, with 52% saying they expect to make payments which either meet or exceed pre-COVID-19 equivalents, 38% were offering less, year-on-year – evidence that the impact of COVID-19 has been far from uniform across all industries.

“Mid-weight and senior professionals historically enjoying very competitive benefits as part of their remuneration package, and we expect to see a further rise in flexible working conditions as employers look to offer 100% remote or hybrid working to attract and retain qualified facilities staff.”

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance was cited as a top priority for many, with almost three-quarters of managers (71%) saying they are committed to offering remote work for the foreseeable future.

‘Flexitime’ policies that allow employees to structure their workday or week as they please have already been established at 61% of companies surveyed, while compressed work weeks (52%) and permanent part-time arrangements (51%) are also favoured by executives in response to COVID-19-induced changes.

“HR and office support professionals recognize the enhanced market value of their skills in this climate,” continues Weston.  “With the opportunities to increase remuneration becoming tricky in the coming months, employers should research compensation trends regularly and be prepared to move quickly and negotiate effectively – using both financial and non-financial benefits – in order to retain key employees or hire promising talent.”

While the next few months will undoubtedly prove challenging for many, Robert Half reports that a number of key sectors across the UK continue to show strong demand for new admin and HR hires, including financial services, fintech, manufacturing, investment management, and retail.

This latest research coincides with the release of Robert’s Half 2021 Salary Guide (, providing salary information on in-demand HR and office support roles in the UK, including HR business partners, HR managers and talent acquisition managers. 
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