It’s a situation we have all faced at one time or another. You have the candidate in for the second interview, and they are, as far as you can see, ideal. The perfect experience, a personality that is a great fit for the team and they are excited about your organization.
And then you mention money. They ask you to repeat the offer when you reveal it, and things go downhill fast. In the worst cases, they tell you they are angry that you have been wasting their time. You might say something about the range of opportunity you are offering, and hint that they need to stay professional, and they come back with the suggestion that you should try it too.
The fact is, getting the salary offer wrong is a disaster in any recruitment situation. It wastes your time as well as that of candidates, and that is only the beginning. If you are not offering the going rate for the job, you look as though you don’t know the market, your organization looks cheap, and your candidate may even share his or her irritation by social media.
There is reputational damage for you and the organization you are recruiting for, wasted time for all, and not only do you still have a role to fill, finding another candidate will be even harder if word gets around.
Knowing what to pay your existing staff to retain them can be a problem – knowing how much to offer to attract the new staff you need can be a nightmare.
Why is it so hard to find salary information?
Even as a recruitment professional, it can be hard to get hold of accurate salary figures. People generally don’t talk about what they earn. It may be old-fashioned British reticence but, these days, it can be a negotiating tactic.
Plus of course, during any negotiation, there are those candidates who may be economical with the truth, or inadvertently add their bonus to their salary figure in the heat of the interview process.
There are online surveys, but many of these have the quality of data you might expect when there is absolutely no reason for respondents to tell the unvarnished truth. You might find that the figures have been painstakingly compiled and cross-referenced for accuracy, but not that the data they are based on is five years out of date or includes respondents from across the entire EU (or even the US).
So even though we can all get a representative figure in a few minutes with the help of Google, we probably can’t afford to be confident in it.
Things are made more difficult still because although many websites can provide lists, in the real world, salaries do not stay still. That salary figure you found might have been accurate when it was published, but we have all noticed that wage inflation is back in recent months. This means that any salary figure from a year ago is out of date now. Unlike consumer inflation, you can’t just add on a standard percentage. Some roles are more in demand than they were a year ago and will command a premium. Some job titles might not even have existed in the past.
You need to know what the going rate for a particular role is now.
Fortunately, the answer – or answers – can now be found, with a new type of online guide.
A salary guide based on official figures
A team of data experts looked at a number of sources for the most accurate data, and finally found it in the figures used by the ONS, the Office of National Statistics, accepted as the authority on matters of tax – and employment.
“It’s the definitive data as used by the treasury. It is what people actually earn, rather than what they might say they do.”
But, as well as today’s figures, Rangewell has created a tool which also allows you to look back on how salaries have changed over the last 7 years. The business finance experts at Rangewell, which created it say:
The recruiters we work with believe that is a very important plus. Being able to see which sectors, and which specialisms are seeing the fastest growth helps them plan ahead. If you can see it is a specialism – like robotics for example – which is growing in importance fast, you will be able to tailor any salary offer you make accordingly.
It’s a vital and unique source of information – all you need is the job title you are interested in and it will give you the figures you want in a moment.
“We always build a close relationship with the people we have as clients,” a Rangewell spokesperson explains. “That has given us have some unique insights about the challenges our clients face. The need to have an accurate source of salary data is a need that has come up again and again.”
About the author: Richard Mitchell made a qualification in psychology the basis of his career. He provided support for what was then the personnel function of a number of advertising agencies in the 1990s, dealing mainly with creative recruitment. Since the millennium, he has done the same for HR teams in banks and financial organizations. This included work with a leading bank during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which he describes as ‘professionally challenging.’ These days he writes about HR topics, along with a number of other specialized areas, mainly for companies in the financial sector.