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Maru Inplacement

Bumper starting salaries will ‘not solve widespread staff shortages’

12 January 2022

Genevieve Bland

Story by
Genevieve Bland

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Reports that graduate lawyers can earn up to £150,000 has led to HR experts claiming salary alone cannot be relied upon to win the war on recruiting and retaining talent.

Earlier this week, UK recruiter Rogert Walters reported offers for graduate lawyers with starting annual salaries reaching £150,000. 

This pay hike has also been witnessed across different sectors and industries, with Sainsbury’s joining the likes of Lidl, Morrisons and Aldi by increasing shop level wages to £10. 

Kate Palmer, HR advice & consultancy director at Peninsula, believes these types of initiatives lead to many employees jumping from one job to another, but don’t solve the widespread staff shortages problem.

She said: “The high starting salaries on offer from large firms may take key talent away from smaller organisations who simply can’t afford to match the rates on offer.  

“A better return on investment may be to focus on the development of new workers, with reduced skills and experience. 

“Such programmes contribute towards long-term retention, whilst creating a bigger and better pool of labour resources.  

 “Supporting staff with upskill training, offering flexible and hybrid working arrangements, providing long-service bonuses and enhancing benefits like contractual maternity and sick pay can be a great way of optimising reward and retention strategies.” 

National statistics showed a 4.9% rise in salary from August to October 2021.

However, companies are struggling to find highly skilled employees to fill the gap in vacancies created by the ‘great resignation’.

Rita Trehan, who has led people transformation initiatives at Coca Cola and the World Bank, thinks the pandemic has forced employees to think about what they really want and is where they are working reflective of what they believe. 

She said “Ultimately a bigger paycheck will be the final word in many cases. But when the pay and benefits are comparable, the employees carrying the day are the ones that will empower they staff and new hires.

“This make them feel part of something better and more important, and give them ready access to training, skills development and the flexibility to develop their passions outside of their work, or even during working hours.

“Employees must feel they can work, how, where, when they want and that they will be rewarded for doing so, not frowned upon for not keeping a rigid 9-5 office-based existence.”

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