Hiring Top Talent Amid Rising Pay Rates in the Great Resignation

Competitive pay, remote flexibility critical in this high-demand market, solutions firm Kforce finds

Companies looking to attract high-performing workers during the Great Resignation can start by understanding market trends impacting some of the most in-demand jobs.

Research shows unemployment rates in technology, finance and accounting fell to their lowest level in three years while median wages in job postings climbed an average of 10% this past year, according to Emsi Burning Glass, a data company specializing in the labor market.

Pay rates have risen in waves before, but experts say the speed of this increase is unusual. Much of the current rise in the tech industry happened in the past six months, an analysis of Emsi data showed.

Meanwhile, the labor market is still feeling the effects of the Great Resignation. Voluntary turnover in the U.S. is expected to jump nearly 20% this year, with Gartner Inc projecting 37.4 employees will quit their jobs in 2022.

Companies that don’t react accordingly risk falling behind in this competitive landscape, according to Kforce, a solutions firm specializing in staffing and technology. The professional solutions firm keeps a close eye on market trends, enabling it to supply businesses and candidates with data-backed industry insights that help both succeed.

“In order to compete, companies have to appeal to candidates with their industry expertise while also offering competitive pay and moving quickly in the hiring process,” said Kristin Burmeister, a Kforce expert who supports clients nationwide.

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Knowledge of current market trends will help companies run effective talent searches and distinguish themselves from competitors, said Jim Casey, a Kforce region senior vice president in Boston.

The data nationwide describes a talent landscape increasingly favoring the candidate: high demand for skilled jobs paying at a higher rate than ever before.

“It’s a very dynamic market that has so many pressures coming from so many different places,” Burmeister said. “It’s really put control in the candidate’s hands.”

As of April 2022, the median wage for IT job postings jumped nearly 11% in a one-year period, according to Emsi.

In the same month, the technology unemployment rate was 1.7% nationwide, a slight uptick from March’s three-year low of 1.3%, according to a CompTIA analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

While the IT industry is seeing the most sizeable jump in pay rates, finance is not far behind. The median wage advertised on finance and accounting jobs rose nearly 9% within one year, according to Emsi.

Another challenge for those looking to fill critical finance and accounting roles is the talent shortage nationwide. Demand for these roles increased significantly, with finance and accounting job postings increasing 32% from May 2021 to April 2022.

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“The more technical the role, the more we’re seeing people moving around to get what they think is the best pay and the best experience,” said Joley Mastanduno, a Kforce region senior vice president in Florida and Texas. “This is true of finance and accounting roles, too, whether it’s positions requiring more tenure, skill or education. That’s where we’re seeing the biggest increase in demand.”

And while remote work allows companies to hire people outside their physical location, it also places them in competition with other employers who are now hiring nationwide, Mastanduno said.

“Everybody’s trying to grab the best talent, and they’re all grabbing from the same pool, regardless of where anyone sits,” Mastanduno said.

A November 2021 Gartner survey found that 52% of employees said flexible work policies would impact whether they stay with their company. And 16% of employees were willing to quit their job if required to work fully on-site.

Companies will have more success attracting talent in this competitive market if they’re able to share their story and vision, Mastanduno said.

“You can distinguish yourself by helping candidates understand how the work they would do would make a difference in the world,” Mastanduno said. “When people hear what they can be a part of building, that’s exciting for them, especially for candidates who have some pretty significant capabilities.”

Once a company establishes competitive pay, it’s those intangibles, like culture and vision, that distinguish top employers, Casey said.

“I think most companies know that they have to be competitive on wages now. It’s those other things, too, that are critical,” Casey said. “What’s your work culture? What training opportunities do you provide? Can you map out career progression and show potential candidates what opportunities are available to them inside the company? The more you can do that, the greater advantage you have.”

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