How benefits may be the key to attracting top talent

Portfolio Payroll, a specialist recruitment consultancy based in London, has released the results of its 2017/2018 salary survey.

Polling professionals throughout the payroll sector, the organisation shed light on how benefits are now vital for anyone looking to attract top talent.

Total compensation packages and remaining competitive within the market is a key consideration for all employers.

Total compensation packages for candidates moving from one role to another is a key deciding factor for potential new hires with pension, private healthcare, bonus and incentive plans most desirable combined with greater interest in flexible working policies.

This is apparent within the payroll industry. Of those polled for the report, it was quite common for firms to provide schemes such as auto-enrolled pension, life assurance, flexible working, or private healthcare.

However, it was not unheard of for employees to be offered gym memberships, car/car allowances, or study leave.

Perhaps as a means to further differentiate themselves from the competition, other benefits on offer included personal support through enhanced maternity schemes or employee assistance programmes. Bonuses of up to 15% were also made available within several payroll teams.

Salary satisfaction

Although benefits are desirable, income is a key attraction for those looking to move job. When asked to rate – out of five stars – how satisfied they were with their current salary, almost 40% (39.59) gave the full score whereas just over six percent (6.37) responded with one star.

In addition, around 26% (26.01%) replied with four, approximately 16% (16.11%) stated three, and more than 10% (11.92%) rated their salary satisfaction levels at only two stars.

These high satisfaction levels could be due to how often salaries were reviewed within the payroll sector. For example, when polling respondents, more than 40% had their income reviewed less than six months ago. In comparison, less than 20% had theirs revised over 12 months ago. Increased competition and demand has driven payroll salaries consistently higher year on year since our findings in our 2015 salary survey through to the current highs of our latest survey in 2017.

The demand for Payroll professionals has been consistently high over the last few years, largely due to the ever increasing complexity of payroll legislation. The continued rise of payroll at the centre of any successful business alongside HR and Finance teams has seen a demand for candidates and the payroll recruitment market has become even more competitive with competition between employers for high calibre candidates as fierce as we have ever known it.

Currently, the average payroll salary in the UK stands at £29,596 while staff in this sector have benefited from a 0.5% increase in overall median basic pay throughout the last 12 months.  

Changing recruitment practices

The data collected from the salary survey illustrates the changing attitudes payroll teams are taking to locate the best talent. Although almost 60% of firms used a recruitment agency to conduct their hiring, almost 20% chose to take someone on through an internal referral or recommendation.

However, the most significant trend we have seen is the speed in which the market is moving, with companies being required to speed up their recruitment process to compete or even beat competing employers to secure the best talent.

As such we are encouraging our clients to speed up their recruitment process by shortening the gap between interview stages and progressing CVs quickly, through to gaining sign off for new hires prior to starting the recruitment process.

These rapid changes in the market could explain why more than 30% (30.57%) of payroll teams anticipate recruiting within the next three to five months and more than 40% (40.02%) took on new employees less than three months ago.

An increasing demand for temp/interim professionals

The salary survey illustrated that an increasing number of payroll professionals are moving from permanent employment into more flexible consultancy work. This has been attributed to the on-going need for these individuals to lead key projects – from post implementation all the way through to change management and process improvement.

I never promote leaving a permanent position for interim work unless you are in a financial position to do so, but candidates with a wealth of payroll experience prefer the variety and challenges it brings and rarely look back once they choose that career path.

Although rates differ throughout the UK, the research revealed that an interim payroll manager could expect to receive at least £200 a day for their efforts. However, in London, this increases to £250.

The research also demonstrated that implementation and project managers were in high demand. If one of these professionals sought work in the capital, he or she could expect to receive up to £550 a day for their efforts.
Anthony Macey is the director and Patrick Day is the senior managerof Portfolio Payroll.

What is the difference between hiring introverts or hiring extroverts?

We all know that a diverse workforce is a productive, innovative and creative one. And while this extends to hiring people from different genders, races, ages, abilities and religious backgrounds – it should also extend to hiring people with different personalities.

Why? Well you don’t want a department full of expressive, sociable team leaders for example. You also want the deep thinkers, the good listeners, the empathetic and quietly confident ones as well.

It’s because of this that you need a good mix of both introverts and extroverts in your workforce. But this isn’t always easy, as both types have their various quirks that you need to be aware of. Here are some differences to consider:

1. Interview process

It’s a generalisation that introverts are always shy and retiring types. In fact, they can be very eloquent and confident, depending on the situation. But many are not. Depending on the role you’re hiring for, it’s worth being aware that a single 45 minute interview may not always be the best way to determine if someone would be suitable for a role, and would suit your company. Introverts may be slower to “sell” themselves to you, while extroverts may overstate their achievements and may seem very likeable on the surface. Ensure you take this into account, depending on the role you’re hiring for, and then adjust the interview process appropriately.

2. Working environment

In Susan Cain’s book Quiet, she examines how open plan offices don’t always suit more introverted personalities.  In this article she comments further: “Introverts recharge their batteries by being more on their own or in low-key environments, and extroverts recharge their batteries by being in spaces where there’s a lot going on.” It’s for this reason that office environments need to provide pods, closed offices or other areas where introverts can work. Your office should also provide extroverts spaces where they can collaborate and thrive, as they are more comfortable with external stimuli like noise.

3. Meetings

The traditional way of holding a meeting where people sit around a table and then have to speak up and “pitch” their idea to a large group of peers or suppliers, can be intimidating or unproductive to introverts. They may be more productive going to a quiet space and thinking through the particular challenge and then writing up their ideas in an email or discussing them face-to-face with their manager.

In the same way, an extrovert must learn not to dominate a meeting and once they’ve said their piece, should be encouraged to ask others questions or listen.

4. Training

There are different degrees of introverts and extroverts. You get extroverted introverts who have trained themselves to be more outgoing when the need requires it. And you get introverted extroverts who also thrive on a bit of alone time. The trick is for employees to get to know themselves better, and then to upskill to fill any gaps required for them to be successful at their jobs. An example would be an introverted creative type who needed to be able to pitch his or her design ideas to clients, but hated public speaking. You would then need to help them become more confident, by recommending a public speaking course that could provide tips and tricks on how to improve.

Your organisation needs people of different types, so both extroverts and introverts should be celebrated for the unique set of skills and ways of thinking they bring to your company.

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How to write a winning CV

One of the most important parts of a successful job hunt is having a good CV.

After all, your CV is usually the first piece of substantial information your recruiter or potential employer will receive about you – so it deserves some careful thought. But how do you make sure you cut through the noise of CVs from all other competing applicants? Here are our ten top best practices:

1. Don’t lie. Never lie about the experience you’ve gained or the positions you’ve held. Even if you do end up getting the job, this could come back to haunt you if are out of your depth in the role. Be honest about your abilities, and if you do feel you’re lacking in a certain area, you can acknowledge this in the interview and then spin it positively – for example by emphasising your motivation and enthusiasm.

2. Include all the basics. Always include your personal and contact details, work experience, core skills and trustworthy references.

3. Keep it professional. A CV is all about you and your career – it’s not a personal biography. Leave out personal information that’s not directly relevant to the position you’re applying for, such as your family set up or marital status.

4. Short and sweet is always best. The résumé – the American version of the CV – is strictly limited to one page only. While that’s not necessarily the case with a CV, you should still keep it as short as you can, at two pages or less. To do this, cherry pick your most impressive skills and work experience, and leave out any unnecessary facts that don’t directly apply to the role. If your employer wants to know more, they can always ask for more details during the interview.

5. Include a summary sentence. Most employers and recruiters are inundated with CVs, so they’ll probably skim them initially rather than reading in detail. To cater for this, include a summary sentence at the beginning that sums up your abilities and skills in a succinct way.

6. Customise it. You should ideally tailor your CV to the specific job you’re applying for. This means emphasising certain work experience, attributes or previous positions that are related to that particular job description. Start with a general template and then tweak it as necessary for every different job you apply for.

7. Keep it up to date. Regularly check that the dates, number of years’ experience, contact details and reference details on your CV are correct, and update it with any recent courses or qualifications you’ve completed.

8. Check your grammar and spelling. This may be obvious, but double and then triple check that the document is free from grammatical and spelling errors. To make extra sure, print it out and have someone else read it carefully.

9. Make it easy to read. Choose a simple font that’s big enough to read clearly, especially when your CV is printed out. Watch the line spacing, and keep sentences and paragraphs short – where possible, use bullet points instead.

10. Don’t forget the cover letter! Make sure that you include a message that catches the recipient’s attention to open your CV in the first place. Avoid sending a very generic email: the message should be as specific as possible to the person you’re sending it to.

If you follow the tips above, you can feel satisfied that you’ve done everything you can to bag that first interview with your potential employer. And if you don’t get called, don’t lose heart. Job hunting is a numbers game, so keep applying, while tapping into your personal and professional network wherever possible. Stay focused, and eventually you’ll land that dream job that’s completely right for you.

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