COMPANIES IN CALIFORNIA with 15 or more employees are now required to disclose pay scales on new job advertisements this year, possibly making the quest for hiring the best candidates for positions even more competitive. Pete Milne, managing director of special- ist recruitment company Robert Walters, shares what employers need to be mindful of, based on a recent survey of Californians:

Salary is the No. 1 priority for professionals. Almost half of survey respondents said that salary is the primary deciding factor when looking at jobs – superseding even the details of the job role. Milne says this shows that candidates are heavily prioritizing salary, so employers should make it prominent on the job description.

Californians will be setting their sights high. Times are tight, and with the rising cost-of-living, candidates have one thing on their mind — securing the highest price for their skillset. The Robert Walters survey found that 76 percent of professionals in California will set their sights on the higher end of a salary band that is featured in a job advertisement, while almost half wouldn’t even apply for a job which is advertised for less than the salary band they desire.

Market demand will decide salary. Currently, salary is being decided by market demand — where talent is short, salaries will skyrocket. While employers understand the logic behind this, professionals will generally only see the figure, Milne says. So essentially, once an employer offers $70,000 for a position, it’s difficult to advertise that same position a year later for $50,000, even if there is a surplus of talent.

Be mindful of your competition. Survey respondents identified competitor benchmarking as a primary factor driving salaries. By comparing compensation and benefits packages to those of competitors, employers can scale-up their own offerings — not just limited to salary. Employers can also pay staff through soft perks and benefits packages.

If employers don’t disclose, they risk diminished returns and non-compliance fine. Less than one in five professionals in California would apply for a role that doesn’t disclose salary, according to the survey. Therefore, companies that fall behind in salary disclosure will leave themselves with shallower hiring pools. However, there is a caveat here, Milne says. While in other states a broad salary band is a deterrent, Californian’s are less bothered by them.

Company values are still important. Only 14 percent of professionals in California view company values and culture as a primary deciding factor for accepting a job. But companies should still be clear about their values. Having a clear set of company values and an open and positive company culture will help ensure longevity in a hiring match.

The growth and profit of a company no longer decides a candidate’s salary. Instead, the power lies in building out an employee’s career journey, which means offering a stable path to progression, opportunities to improve skills and training, and working on soft perks and benefits packages — including support on well-being and mental health.

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